Originally Posted by melvonnar
I helped design the main engine control: every time that thing takes off I hold my breath.
At the Davidson building in Huntsville they has a film clip of when Von Braun and his team 1st fired the 5 main Saturn V engines at Marshall not knowing if the thing would work or blow up. Amazing!
Going from millions of pounds of thrust and now moving into ion propulsion that has a thrust equaling the brush of one's hand through the air is probably equally challenging but not quite as exciting. The ion engine amazingly will just keep accelerating the spacecraft over the course of the weeks and months and perhaps years that its lit. I can see the engine propulsion panel now, On & Off.
Davidson Center for Space Exploration - US Space Camp
On display in the center is a real Saturn V launch vehicle. The vehicle is suspended from the ceiling and is broken down into stages. This exhibit is similar to the one at KSC however fewer people come here but it still has the same impact. Totally amazing and a wondrous story ....
Seen at the 5 main engines of the Saturn V, a view of the 1st stage fuselage and the Apollo capsule and launch abort system (LAS).
In recent NASA video we've seen where the LAS successfully fired as it sat atop of the Orion's MPCV
or multi purpose crew vehicle. Regressing or advancing space flight one might question? In practicality the Apollo "capsule" was the only deep spacecraft we ever had so MPCV will build on that technology but will only carry up to 4 astronauts rather than the larger crew of the shuttle.