That's a Lot of Rockets

Illustration for article titled That's a Lot of Rockets

This is an illustration from physics professor Peter Alway's 1995 book Rockets of the World. That little black-and-yellow smudge in the second row, that's the V–2. Hit the jump for mega-size.


Click on the picture to zoom or download the full 3,322×5,079 image here. It’s quite amazing what a monster the Saturn V still is, almost 40 years in retirement.

Image Credit: Peter Alway



To see the STS (that's The Space Shuttle to you non-nerds) up close, you tip your head back, way back, and lean back, and your whole neck and back start to hurt and your thighs burn from holding you in that awkward position.

To see the mighty Saturn V, you have to walk backwards. More. More than that. And still you can't see the top, until you finally can see the top and it's way the hell up there. It's over 360 feet tall, building it predicated building the world's tallest garage door. It's carried to the pad on what may be the largest cargo the wuuuhld.

The Saturn V is the Burj Dubai - sorry, that's Khalifa - of things that fly. There's small, there's agile, there's large, there's fast.

And then there's the Saturn V. So far beyond everything else, it's almost a category unto itself. "Do we have an interplanetary man-rated launch system?"

"Well, there's the Saturn V. We sent men to the Moon on it."

"What about a system for launching a space station all in one go?"

"Yeah, we can do that...with the Saturn V."

"Hmm. What's its success rate?"

"Perfect so far. Big dumb rocket. Light 'er up, off she goes."