On lazy, Sunday afternoons, it’s okay to well, be lazy.
It’s raining again today.
Why do I love rain? I assume the reason lies deeper than the fundamental need all creatures have for the water engine that propels our lives.
As astronomer’s vision reaches closer to the edge of the universe, the trend they find is that it is teeming with worlds. According to the statistics, they extrapolate that every star is likely to bind at least one planet in an orbit. They speak much about the holy grail of the Habitable Zone of each star. Their search is for a little planet in this zone, a place where dihydrogen oxide will flow along the knife-edge between boiling to vapor and freezing solid.
That is why I love the rain.
We have it here. It is a gift from God.
Here, we have the Saturn V rocket, housed inside the Apollo/Saturn V Center at Kennedy Space Center near Titusville, Florida, just a few miles from Launch complex 39, where these beasts once roared into the sky.
When we look at the enormous first stage of the Saturn V rocket, called an S-IC, we think “spaceship”. Truthfully, the Saturn V first stage never actually made it into space. The stage only burned for the first 150 seconds of flight, then dropped away from the rest of the rocket, all while remaining totally inside Earth’s atmosphere. The S-IC stage is merely an aircraft.
Even more truthfully, the S-IC stage displayed here at the Apollo/Saturn V Center at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, never flew at all. It is a static test article, fired while firmly attached to the ground, to make sure the rocket would actually hold together in flight. Obviously, these tests were successful, (e.g. she didn’t blow up), and she sits on our Apollo museum today. I wrote more about this particular stage in a previous post, (click here to view.)
The rest of the rocket, the second and third stages, called the S-II and S-IVB stages, did fly into space. The S-II put the manned payload into orbit, and the S-IVB was responsible for initially propelling that payload from earth orbit to the moon, an act called “trans-lunar injection” (TLI).
The particular rocket in this display, except for the first stage, is called SA-514. 514 was going to launch the cancelled Apollo 18 and 19 moon missions.
The command/service module (CSM) in the photos is called CSM-119. This particular capsule is unique to the Apollo program, because it has five seats. All the others had three. 119 could launch with a crew of three, and land with five, because it was designed it for a possible Skylab rescue mission. It was later used it as a backup capsule for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project.
It’s another delightful summer day here in Taylors. It’s been raining and overcast and as I sit here in the Dave Newell Memorial Writing Studio, I’ve got a window open, letting in the twittering birdsong and the cool. The sound of running water awakened me. My first thought was that my recent plumbing work had let go and the public works was getting a donation. The sound was just the rain in the gutters. A double pleasure.
I actually opened the window to take a picture. Thought the rain has stopped for the moment, the screen is sprinkled with drops and they are constrained by the square grid. Most of the drops formed random patterns, recalling to mind the ancient artwork created with the early computer paint programs. One group of water-filled squares caught my eye.
It’s raining again. Maybe I’ll get some different letters.