“…and after that it got very interesting.”
– Apollo 12 Commander Pete Conrad in the post-flight technical debriefing, referring to the first of two lightning strikes on the vehicle during launch.
I just found out I can upgrade my Galaxy S5 at no cost to an S8, so I ordered a new phone skin from Skinit that will ship tomorrow – as it serendipitously turns out, the 48th anniversary of the date the photo was taken.
This is Apollo 12, taken from the roof of the Vehicle Assembly Building as the stack began its 3½ mile journey to Launch Pad 39A on 8 September 1969. This assembly of Crawler-Transporter, Mobile Launcher (aka Launch Umbilical Tower), Saturn V, and Apollo weighed over 18 million pounds, the equivalent of twenty or so 747s, and moved at a stately 80 or so feet per minute.
From the remarkable 600-page Moonport: A History of Apollo Launch Facilities and Operations: “These novel mechanisms almost defy verbal description, and the reader should refer frequently to the illustrations in this chapter.”
Here’s a higher-resolution copy of the source photo – click for a larger version and note the people in white hardhats at the edges of the platform: