Science: The Largest Load

A perfect takeoff erased all the embarrassments of delay. One tiny plug carelessly left in an oxygen line had delayed the launch for 48 hours. Poised on the pad, the big bird had to wait impatiently while Air Force planes tracked down the noisy radio of a ship slogging along offshore. But now Saturn SA-5, biggest and most powerful rocket ever fired aloft, was rising above Cape Kennedy as routinely as any operational missile.

Trailing a muffled bellow from its eight engines, Saturn seemed to rise with unnatural slowness. During the first ten seconds it...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!