09 Apr When We Were Apollo: “America’s Moonport”
It’s hard to fully appreciate the scale of this image, but at the time of completion Apollo’s Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) was the largest building in the world (the Rose Bowl could sit comfortably on its roof). Designed to house the fully assembled Saturn V moon rocket while withstanding the force of a hurricane, the VAB is one of the most impressive engineering feats of the 20th century. After purchasing 125 square miles of land in 1961, NASA would enlist the Army Corps of Engineers to move nine million cubic yards of sand and shell to form the access channel in the foreground. At the same time, Operation “Big Move” would bring over 7,000 civil service and contracted employees to Merritt Island for the construction of America’s Moon Port. This photo, dated May 25, 1966, shows the Saturn V check vehicle making its way out to pad 39A (the black tracking ring near the base of the vehicle is the giveaway. No Saturn V that ever flew carried the same configuration).