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DEFENSE ADVANCED RESEARCH PROJECTS AGENCY

Cover photo: Shown with artistic flair is an injector plate of an F-1 engine, the workhorse engine that would, among other lifts, power the Saturn V rockets of the Apollo missions. From the injector plate’s holes, liquid fuel and liquid oxygen would spray out, much like water from the head of a garden hose, but under enormous pressure. This particular F-1 engine is on display in Huntsville, Alabama, at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. In August 1958, just six months after ARPA was established (later renamed as DARPA), the agency authorized a proposal by Wernher von Braun and his research team at the Army Ballistic Missile Agency in Huntsville to design and build a large, heavy-lift rocket vehicle. To quickly and cheaply achieve massive thrust in the first stage, ARPA suggested a design featuring a cluster of available rocket engines, the powerful F-1 developed by Rocketdyne in the mid1950s. Also expediting the successful development of the Saturn booster was the reliance in the upper stages on liquid hydrogen technology developed earlier for the ARPA-supported CENTAUR vehicle. As DARPA enters its seventh decade, the agency remains at the forefront of rocket design, now focusing on the challenges of boosting assets to orbit quickly, with little notice, and at low cost. Photo by Lee Hutchinson

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DARPA: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency 1958-2018  

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