old300D - 10/12/2004 4:06 PM
Wow, Kirk. Great backdrop for your Benz. What is that rocket, a Titan?
No, that is a Saturn Moon Rocket. The only thing you are really seeing in the picture is the capsule and the module the Lunar Lander was stored in and the last couple of boosters. There's about 15 stories of rocket you can't see. The nozzle end of it is truly spectacular. I am actually parked quite aways away from it - if you look close you can see some tourists up close to the rocket that give a better idea of the scale.
Its parked at the JPL in Houston, along with an example of all the other rockets. If you ever get to Houston, follow 45 South to NASA RD 1, turn east on RD 1, until you see a huge rocket on your left.
The capsules are indoors at Space Center Houston, a museum and educational center behind it. You can see the Apollo capsules from the moon shots and the original Mercury and Gemini capsules, and you can also tour Mission Control. There are also all kinds of simulators that mock up the insides of the Shuttle and Space Station. Pretty cool. They are currently restoring the rocket in the picture. I wish they would stand the thing up. Its about 20 stories tall, I would guess.
I was lucky enough to witness a Saturn mission - Saturn 4, it was an unmanned test shot, around 1967. I was about 14 years old. We were in Tampa, about 90 miles from the launchpad at the Cape. When that thing went up it was like another sun rose into the sky. You would not believe how bright the entire world was in the first few moments of the launch. Words can barely describe it. I don't think I was ever more proud to be an American as I was that day.