Wednesday, 31 October 2012

On this Day: 31st October 1941, Mount Rushmore Completed

The Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore near Keystone, South Dakota, in the United States. Sculpted by Danish-American Gutzon Borglum and his son, Lincoln Borglum, Mount Rushmore features 60-foot (18 m) sculptures of the heads of former United States presidents (in order from left to right) George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. The entire memorial covers 1,278.45 acres (5.17 km2) and is 5,725 feet (1,745 m) above sea level. The tallest mountain in the region is Harney Peak (7,242 ft or 2,207 m).
South Dakota historian Doane Robinson is credited with conceiving the idea of carving the likenesses of famous people into the Black Hills region of South Dakota in order to promote tourism in the region.

Robinson wanted it to feature western heroes like Lewis and Clark, Red Cloud and Buffalo Bill Cody but Borglum decided the sculpture should have a more national focus, and chose the four presidents whose likenesses would be carved into the mountain. After securing federal funding, construction on the memorial began in 1927, and the presidents' faces were completed between 1934 and 1939. Upon Gutzon Borglum's death in March 1941, his son Lincoln Borglum took over construction. Although the initial concept called for each president to be depicted from head to waist, lack of funding forced construction to end in late October 1941.

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Monday, 29 October 2012

On This Day: 29 October 1929 - "Black Tuesday," Stock Market crashes triggers "Great Depression

The Wall Street Crash of 1929, also known as the Great Crash and the Stock Market Crash of 1929, began in late October 1929 and was the most devastating stock market crash in the history of the United States when taking into consideration the full extent and duration of its fallout. The crash signaled the beginning of the 10-year Great Depression that affected all Western industrialized countries and did not end in the United States until the onset of American mobilization for World War II at the end of 1941.

Anyone who bought stocks in mid-1929 and held onto them saw most of his or her adult life pass by before getting back to even.

The photograph above was taken in March 1936 and is looking down Pike Street toward the Manhattan Bridge, street half in shadow, rubble in gutters, some traffic.

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Thursday, 25 October 2012

On this Day: 25th October 1415, The Battle of Agincourt

The Battle of Agincourt was a major English victory against a numerically superior French army in the Hundred Years' War. The battle occurred on Friday, 25 October 1415 (Saint Crispin's Day), near modern-day Azincourt, in northern France. Henry V's victory crippled France and started a new period in the war, during which, first, Henry married the French king's daughter and, second, his son, Henry VI, was made heir to the throne of France (although Henry VI later failed to capitalise on his father's battlefield success).

Henry V led his troops into battle and participated in hand-to-hand fighting. The French king of the time, Charles VI, did not command the French army himself as he suffered from severe, repeating illnesses and moderate mental incapacitation. Instead, the French were commanded by Constable Charles d'Albret and various prominent French noblemen of the Armagnac party.

The battle is notable for the use of the English longbow, which Henry used in very large numbers, with English and Welsh archers forming most of his army. The battle is also the centrepiece of the play Henry V, by William Shakespeare.

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Wednesday, 24 October 2012

On this Day: 24th October 2003, Concordes last flight

Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde was first flown in 1969, entered service in 1976 and continued commercial flights for 27 years.

Concorde flew regular transatlantic flights from London Heathrow and Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport to New York JFK and Washington Dulles; it profitably flew these routes in less than half the time of other airliners. With only 20 aircraft built, the development of Concorde was a substantial economic loss; Air France and British Airways also received considerable government subsidies to purchase them. Concorde was retired in 2003 due to a general downturn in the aviation industry after the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001 and a decision by Airbus, the successor firm of Aerospatiale and BAC, to discontinue maintenance support.

In a week of farewell flights around the United Kingdom, Concorde visited Birmingham on 20 October, Belfast on 21 October, Manchester on 22 October, Cardiff on 23 October and Edinburgh on 24 October. On 23 October 2003, the Queen consented to the illumination of Windsor Castle, an honour reserved for state events and visiting dignitaries, as Concorde's last west-bound commercial flight departed London.
British Airways retired its Concorde fleet on 24 October. G-BOAG left New York, G-BOAF flew over the Bay of Biscay, carrying VIP guests including former Concorde pilots, while G-BOAE flew from Edinburgh. The three aircraft then circled over London, having received special permission to fly at low altitude, before landing in sequence at Heathrow.

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Tuesday, 23 October 2012

On this Day: 23rd October 1942 the Second Battle of El Alamein starts and rages for thirteen days.

The Second Battle of El Alamein took place over 13 days from 23 October – 4 November 1942 near the Egyptian coastal city of El Alamein, and the Allies' victory marked a major turning point in the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War.

It followed the First Battle of El Alamein, which had stalled the Axis advance into Egypt, after which, in August 1942, Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery had taken command of the British Eighth Army from General Claude Auchinleck. This Allied victory turned the tide in the North African Campaign and ended the Axis threat to Egypt, the Suez Canal, and of gaining access to the Middle Eastern and Persian oil fields via North Africa. From a psychological perspective, El Alamein revived the morale of the Allied side, being the first major offensive against the Germans since the start of the European war in 1939 in which the Western Allies achieved a decisive victory.

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Monday, 22 October 2012

On This Day: 22nd October 1878 Thomas Edison successfully tests the first ‘light bulb’

For more than three quarters of a century, scientists had been working to develop an electric light. Thomas Edison himself began developing a practical incandescent lamp in 1878 and filed his first patent application for "Improvement In Electric Lights" on 14 October 1878. During two-years of research, Edison and his colleagues worked on at least three thousand different theories to develop an efficient incandescent lamp.

The first successful test was on 22 October 1879, and lasted 13.5 hours. Later in 1878, Edison formed the Edison Electric Light Company in New York City with several financiers, including J. P. Morgan and the Vanderbilt family. Edison continued to improve this design and on November 4, 1879, filed for U.S. patent 223,898 (granted on January 27, 1880) for an electric lamp using "a carbon filament or strip coiled and connected to platina contact wire.

Although the patent described several ways of creating the carbon filament including "cotton and linen thread, wood splints, papers coiled in various ways",it was not until several months after the patent was granted that Edison and his team discovered a carbonized bamboo filament that could last over 1,200 hours.

Edison made the first public demonstration of his incandescent light bulb on December 31, 1879.

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Saturday, 20 October 2012

On this Day: 20th October 1944, MacArthur returns to the Philippines

0n the 20th October 1944, US General Douglas MacArthur waded ashore in the Philippines, a country he had been forced to flee 2 and half years early following the invasion of Japanese forces.

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on the 7th December, 1941, MacArthur was ommanding US and Filipino forces in the Philippines. The following day Japanese forces invaded the islands, although MacArthur and his generals response was confused, meaning that allied forces immediately found themselves on the defensive. With the islands air defenses neutralised MacArthur began a hasty retreat that ended on the Bataan Peninsula and the rocky fortress called Corregidor.

Under continuous and sustained assault on 12 March 1942, MacArthur and a select group including his wife and son escaped to Australia were he famously said, "I came out of Bataan and I shall return". Bataan surrendered on 9 April 1942 and Corregidor on 6 May 1942

Two years later on the 20th October 1944, allied troops of Krueger's landed on Leyte, while MacArthur watched from the light cruiser USS Nashville. That afternoon he arrived off the beach where his whaleboat grounded in knee-deep water, and MacArthur was compelled to wade ashore. In his prepared speech, he said: “People of the Philippines: I have returned.”

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Thursday, 18 October 2012

On this Day: 18th October 1867, Alaska transfers from Russian to US control

On the 18th October 1867, Alaska was officially transferred from Russia to the United States of America during a ceremony at Sitka. Russian and American soldiers paraded in front of the governor’s house; the Russian flag was lowered and the American flag raised amid peals of artillery.

Known as The Alaska Purchase, the acquisition of the Alaska territory by the United States was a result of a fear by Russians of impending war with Britain that would allow the British to seize Alaska.

The purchase, made at the initiative of United States Secretary of State William H. Seward, gained 586,412 square miles (1,518,800 km2) of new territory. Originally organized as the Department of Alaska, the area was successively the District of Alaska and the Alaska Territory before becoming the modern state of Alaska upon being admitted to the Union as a state in 1959.

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Wednesday, 17 October 2012

On this Day: 17th October 1933, Physicist Albert Einstein denounces Nazi Germany and moves to the United States

Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the general theory of relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and the most influential physicist of the 20th century. While best known for his mass–energy equivalence formula E = mc2 (which has been dubbed "the world's most famous equation"), he received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics "for his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect." The latter was pivotal in establishing quantum theory within physics.

In February 1933 while on a visit to the United States, Einstein decided not to return to Germany due to the rise to power of the Nazis under the new chancellor Adolf Hitler. After travelling to Europe to renounce his German citizenship, Einstein returned to the US and on the 17th October 1933 and took up a position at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, New Jersey, that required his presence for six months each. He settled in the U.S becoming a citizen in 1940 and on the eve of World War II, he helped alert President Franklin D. Roosevelt that Germany might be developing an atomic weapon, and recommended that the U.S. begin similar research; this eventually led to what would become the Manhattan Project. Einstein was in support of defending the Allied forces, but largely denounced using the new discovery of nuclear fission as a weapon. Later, with the British philosopher Bertrand Russell, Einstein signed the Russell–Einstein Manifesto, which highlighted the danger of nuclear weapons. Einstein remained affiliated with the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, until his death in 1955.

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Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Save Photo partners with the Imperial War Museum Archives - Duxford

Save Photo is pleased to announce that it has been selected to partner with the Imperial War Museums Archives at Duxford to assist with the digitisation of historic photographic collections in preparation of the Museums plans to mark the centenary of the Great War in 2014.

IWM Duxford, Cambs           Copyright 2012. Save Photo Ltd
Following a rigorous process of quality assurance checks and security clearance the Save Photo team will be working exclusively on-site at the Museums extensive records and collections archives along side Imaging staff from the Museum.

We are honoured to have been given this opportunity to assist the museum as it prepares to commemorate this most important historic period in British and World history.


On this Day: 16th October 1793, Marie Antoinette, is guillotined at the height of the French Revolution

Born an archduchess of Austria, Marie Antoinette was the fifteenth child of Holy Roman Emperor Francis I and Empress Maria Theresa. She married the French dauphin, Louis, grandson of Louis XV of France, in 1770 and became Queen when he ascended the throne in 1774 as Louis XVI

She was at first welcomed in France but her frivolity contrasted with the withdrawn personality of her husband and her extravagant lifestyle led to growing resentment by the French people who were suspicious of her ties to Austria and her influence on the King.

Add to this, throughout the late 1780’s France was struggling with economic, political and social upheaval and Paris was besieged with riots which culminated in the storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789.

The escape of the royal couple from Paris was stopped at Varennes on October 21, 1791. Imprisoned with the king, Marie Antoinette continued to plot, hoping her brother, the Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II would intervene to end the revolution and free the royal family.

Charged with treason, Louis was executed on 21 January 1793, at the age of thirty-eight and Marie Antoinette was put on trial charged with aiding the enemy and inciting civil war. She was declared guilty of treason in the early morning of 16 October, after two days of proceedings and driven through Paris in an open cart, wearing a simple white dress. At 12:15 p.m., she was beheaded at the Place de la Révolution (present-day Place de la Concorde). Her last words were "Pardon me sir, I meant not to do it", to Henri Sanson the executioner, whose foot she had accidentally stepped on after climbing the scaffold. Her body was thrown into an unmarked grave in the Madeleine cemetery, rue d'Anjou.

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Monday, 15 October 2012

On this Day: 15th October 1962, Missiles Confirmed in Cuba- Crisis Deepens

15th October 1962, Missiles Confirmed in Cuba- Crisis Deepens

Tensions between the United States and Russia had escalated during August 1962, following unsuccessful operations by the US to overthrow the Cuban regime at the Bay of Pigs. In response the Cuban and Soviet governments secretly began to build bases in Cuba for a number of medium-range and intermediate-range ballistic nuclear missiles (MRBMs and IRBMs) with the ability to strike most of the continental United States.

On October 15, the CIA's National Photographic Interpretation Center reviewed photographs taken by U-2 reconnaissance planes and identified medium range ballistic missiles at an SS-4 construction site at San Cristóbal, Pinar del Río Province, in western Cuba.

What ensued was a flurry of diplomatic positions and on the 22nd October 1962 at 7:00 pm EDT, President Kennedy delivered a nation-wide televised address on all of the major networks announcing the discovery of the missiles.
“It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union.”

Kennedy described the administration's plan:
“To halt this offensive buildup, a strict quarantine on all offensive military equipment under shipment to Cuba is being initiated. All ships of any kind bound for Cuba, from whatever nation or port, will, if found to contain cargoes of offensive weapons, be turned back.”  

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Friday, 12 October 2012

On this Day: 12th October 1537, Prince Edward (King Edward VI) son of Henry VIII is born

On the 12th October 1537, Prince Edward (Edward VI) was born at Hampton Court Palace, in Middlesex, the son of King Henry VIII by his third wife, Jane Seymour.

Edward was christened on the 15th October, with his half-sisters, the Lady Mary as his godmother and the Lady Elizabeth carrying the chrism as the Garter King of Arms proclaimed him Duke of Cornwall and Earl of Chester.

His mother, Jane Seymour, however, fell ill on 23rd of October from presumed postnatal complications and died the following night.

Upon the death of his father Henry VIII on the 28th January 1547, Edward was proclaimed the King of England and Ireland. He was crowned King Edward VI on 20th February at the age of nine, although his fathers will named sixteen executors, who were to act as Edward's Council until he reached the age of 18.

In February 1553, Edward VI became ill, and by June, after several improvements and relapses his condition was terminal, eventually passing away of the 6th July 1553, aged 15 at Greenwich Palace.

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Wednesday, 10 October 2012

On this Day: 10th October 1913, President Woodrow Wilson completes the Panama Canal

At 82-kilometre (51 mi) the Panama Canal is a major shipping canal which connects the Atlantic Ocean (via the Caribbean Sea) to the Pacific Ocean.

Whilst work continued until 1914, the final barrier in the construction, the dike at Gamboa, was demolished on the 10th October 1913 with the initial detonation set off telegraphically by President Woodrow Wilson in Washington. The completion marked 401 years since Vasco Núñez de Balboa first crossed Panama.

Work on the canal, had begun in 1881, and was one of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken. During the construction engineers excavated over 152,910,972 m3 of earth; built the world's largest (then) dam and a lake; poured about 1,529,110 m3 of concrete creating a spillway at Gatun Lake to control its height. The United States spent almost $375,000,000 (roughly equivalent to $8,600,000,000 today). But success came at a heavy price, 5,600 workers died during the final phase (1904–14), bringing the total death toll for the construction of the canal to around 27,500.

The canal was formally opened on August 15, 1914, with the passage of the cargo ship SS Ancon.

Image courtesy of The Field Museum Library under The Commons agreement on Flickr.


Tuesday, 9 October 2012

On this Day: 9th October 1888, the Washington Monument is officially opened to the public

9th October 1888, the Washington Monument is officially opened to the public

The Washington Monument was officially opened on the 9th October 1888, over 56 years after plans were first drawn up and 40 years after work first commenced.

The Monument, stands due east of the Reflecting Pool and the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., built to commemorate the first US president, George Washington. 

The monument, an obelisk made of marble, granite, and bluestone gneiss, is both the world's tallest stone structure and the world's tallest obelisk, standing 555 feet 51⁄8 inches (169.294 m).

 Construction of the monument had began in 1848, but was halted from 1854 to 1877, due to political interference, a lack of funds and the onset of the US Civil War.

A difference in shading of the marble, visible approximately 150 feet (46 m) or 27% up, shows where construction was halted. Its original design was by Robert Mills, an architect of the 1840s, but his design was modified significantly when construction resumed. The cornerstone was laid on July 4, 1848; the capstone was set on December 6, 1884, and the completed monument was dedicated on February 21, 1885.

Upon completion, it became the world's tallest structure, a title previously held by the Cologne Cathedral. The monument held this designation until 1889, when the Eiffel Tower was completed in Paris, France.

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Monday, 8 October 2012

On this Day: 8th October 1835, Charles Darwin lands on James Island in the Galapagos

The survey ship HMS Beagle, under captain Robert FitzRoy, arrived in the Galápagos Islands on the 15th September 1835 to survey approaches to harbours. The captain and others on board, including his companion, the young naturalist Charles Darwin, made observations on the geology and biology on Chatham, Charles, Albemarle Islands before arriving at James Island on the 8th October 1835 where they remained until leaving on the 20th October to continue the rest of their round-the-world expedition.

Primarily a geologist at the time, Darwin was impressed by the quantity of volcanic craters they saw, later referring to the archipelago as "that land of craters." His study of several volcanic formations over the 5 weeks he stayed in the islands, led to several important geological discoveries, including the first, correct explanation for how volcanic tuff is formed] Darwin noticed the mockingbirds differed between islands, though he thought the birds now known as Darwin's finches were unrelated to each other, and did not bother labelling them by island.

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Friday, 5 October 2012

On this Day: 5th October 1936 The Jarrow Marchers begin their 22 day crusade to London

5th October 1936 The Jarrow Marchers begin their 22 day crusade to London

On the 5th October 1936, a group of 207 coal and shipyard workers from Jarrow near Newcastle-upon-Tyne began the 300 mile march to London, to lobby parliament against unemployment in the region. They wanted to raise awareness of the troubles being felt in the north of England during the years of depression, where 70 per cent of working aged men were unemployed.

The march or ‘crusade’ as it was referred to took 22 days to arrive in London. The marchers carried with them a petition of 12,000 signatures they had  gathered en route which they hoped to present to the Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin. Baldwin however declined to see any of the marchers and despite becoming folk heroes, the marchers received little support amongst decision makers in London and were given £1 each for the train fare back.

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Thursday, 4 October 2012

On this Day: 4th October 1957, Sputnik launch starts the space race

Between 1957 and 1975, the Cold War rivalry between the United States and Soviet Union had a secondary ‘front’ focused on attaining firsts in space exploration, which were seen as necessary for national security and symbolic of technological and ideological superiority.

It effectively began with the Soviet launch of the Sputnik 1 artificial satellite on 4 October 1957, and concluded with the co-operative Apollo-Soyuz Test Project human spaceflight mission in July 1975.

Sputnik 1 (Russian: "Cпутник-1") was the first artificial Earth satellite, launched it into an elliptical low Earth orbit on 4 October 1957, from Site No.1/5, at the 5th Tyuratam range, in Kazakh SSR (now at the Baikonur Cosmodrome).

The satellite travelled at about 29,000 kilometers (18,000 mi) per hour, taking 96.2 minutes to complete each orbit. The signals continued for 22 days until the transmitter batteries ran out on 26 October 1957. Sputnik 1 burned up on 4 January 1958, as it fell from orbit, after travelling about 60 million km (37 million miles) and spending 3 months in orbit.

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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

On this Day: 3rd October 1990, East and West Germany are unified

At the end of World War II, the Potsdam Agreement divided pre-war Germany into four occupation zones, one controlled by each of the four  Allied powers: the USA, UK, France and Soviet Union.

Tensions between the western powers and Soviets remained high and on the 7th October 1949 the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) was declared. The majority of those living in the new Eastern Bloc nations aspired to independence but by the early 1950s, the Soviet’s had instead begun to restrict national movement.

On the 13th August 1961, the border between East and West Berlin was closed and East German troops installed barbed wire fences along the 156 kilometres (97 mi); the precursor to The Berlin Wall.

The next 28 years saw a bitterly divided nation, at the forefront of the Cold War. In May 1989, the East German regime began to falter when the removal of Hungary's border fence opened a hole in the Iron Curtain.

Six months later, The Berlin Wall officially fell on the 9th November 1989 although in its entirety was not torn down immediately. What followed was the ‘Peaceful Revolution’ a series of protests by East Germans. This led to negotiations between the German Democratic Republic and Federal Republic of Germany that culminated in Unification Day on the 3rd October 1990 when five new Federal States were created, and East and West Berlin were unified as a single city-state.

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Tuesday, 2 October 2012

On this Day: 2nd October 1950, Charlie Brown makes his first appearance in Peanuts

The popular cartoon strip Peanuts, which was written and illustrated by Charles M. Schulz, was first published on the 2nd of October 1950.

Peanuts began as a daily strip, running in nine newspapers: The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Minneapolis Tribune, The Allentown Call-Chronicle, The Bethlehem Globe-Times, The Denver Post, The Seattle Times, The New York Times, and The Boston Globe.

The first strip was four panels long and featured Charlie Brown, Shermy and Patty. Snoopy was also amongst the early characters in the strip, first appearing in the third edition, which ran on October 4.

Peanuts is the most popular and influential in the history of the comic strips, with 17,897 strips published in all. At its peak, Peanuts ran in over 2,600 newspapers, with a readership of 355 million in 75 countries, and was translated into 21 languages.

It helped to cement the four-panel gag strip as the standard in the United States and together with its merchandise earned Schulz more than $1 billion. Peanuts ran until  February 13, 2000, although reprints of the strip are still syndicated and run in almost every U.S. newspaper.

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Monday, 1 October 2012

On this Day: 1st October 1958, NASA launches

On the 1st October 1958 the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) became operational replacing its predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA).

U.S. space exploration efforts have since been led by NASA, including the Apollo moon-landing missions, the Skylab space station, and later the Space Shuttle. Today NASA is supporting the International Space Station and is overseeing the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and Commercial Crew vehicles, while focusing on manned missions to asteroids and Mars.

NASA's facilities are primarily research, construction and communication centers to help its missions and include the most famous, the John F. Kennedy Space Center. The Kennedy Space Centre has been the launch site for every US human space flight since 1968 and continues to manage and operate unmanned rocket launch facilities for America's civilian space program from three pads at the adjoining Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The image above, shows the other major NASA facility, the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama at which the Saturn 5 rocket and Skylab were developed. At its founding, the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) inherited the Army's Jupiter and Redstone test stands, but much larger facilities were needed for the giant stages of the Saturn V. From 1960 to 1964, the existing stands were remodeled and a sizable new test area was developed.

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