SPACE: Fiery Beginning of a Final Journey

IT was like a scene from Dante's Inferno. An incredible belch of flames against the night, ominous clouds of steam and smoke, and finally a thunderous, earth-shaking roar that assaulted the senses and numbed the minds of the 500,000 spectators gathered on nearby Florida beaches and highways. As the Apollo 17 Saturn rocket began to lift ponderously from Cape Kennedy's launch pad 39A, the entire sky was filled with an orange-pink glow, a false dawn against which gulls and pelicans wheeled and fluttered in aimless confusion. The awesome spectacle marked a fitting beginning...

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