Wednesday, April 25, 1962: Project Highwater

From the April 25 edition of The Miami News:

A giant Saturn rocket, forerunner of the moonship launcher, set off the world's first man-made thunderstorm in space today and spewed forth an icy cloud tracked by radar from Miami.
Moon project officials were jubilant over the second perfect performance of the 162-foot, 927-pound Saturn, the world's largest known rocket, although it is still a baby in the U.S. moon program.
A spectacular slideshow was the deliberate disintegration of the rocket by dynamite 65 miles up in the ionosphere so it could released 95 tons of water into the rarefied air.
The mass of water at first vaporized rapidly and then formed a great, man-made cloud of ice visible for miles up and down the Florida coast, where clear skies permitted.
"In this cloud, electrical charges were detected," said Dr. Wernher von Braun, famed German rocket developer now in charge of the Marshall space flight center in Alabama.
"We have caused the first synthetic thunderstorm in space," von Braun said.
(Note: the newspaper article should have said that Saturn weighed 927,000 pounds, not 927.)

* NASA news release (April 22, 1962): @
* "Saturn Aids GSFC Research" (from May 4 issue of Goddard News; scroll to page 3): @
* "Saturn SA-2 Flight Evaluation" (from Marshall Space Flight Center, June 5): @
* Excerpt from "Stages to Saturn: A Technological History of the Apollo/Saturn Launch Vehicle" (1999 book by Roger E. Bilstein): @

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