CARLOS CLARIVAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CARLOS CLARIVAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Saturn V Launch Escape System. Illustration of the Saturn V rocket Launch Escape System (LES), used to abort a mission in the event of rocket failure. Saturn V was the launch vehicle for NASA's Apollo program of manned missions to the Moon, and one of the most powerful rockets ever made. If the rocket failed on the launch pad, the Command Module (silver) containing the crew and the LES tower above it would separate from the remainder of the rocket below. The LES was equipped with a solid fuel rocket motor which could propel the Command Module upward and eastward to the sea. The launch escape tower would then be jettisoned, a parachute deployed, and the Command Module would splash down safely.
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