Science: Flameout in Florida

After its big boom in Georgia, the U.S. space program ran afoul of a fizzle in Florida. At Cape Kennedy the three liquid-fuel motors of an Atlas-Centaur rocket ignited on schedule, but the missile that was supposed to toss a dummy Surveyor (soft-landing vehicle) to the moon's orbit, climbed only a few feet before a valve misfunctioned and the rocket fell back on its pad. Thin-walled fuel tanks ruptured, and more than 100 tons of liquid oxygen and kerosene burst into flames. The hydrogen-burning second stage added tons of liquid hydrogen to the holocaust. The 120-man launching crew dared not emerge...

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