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What’s the largest Smithsonian artifact?

The more than 155 million objects in the Smithsonian’s collections range greatly in size. The smallest item is a fairyfly wasp at the National Museum of Natural History that measures just .0067 of an inch. This tiny specimen is barely a speck compared to the largest item, the National Air and Space Museum’s 363-foot-long Saturn V launch vehicle.

Saturn V launch vehicles like this one were used to launch all of the manned Apollo missions, including Apollo 11 — the first manned mission to land on the moon.

The “V” in the name is a Roman numeral representing the five powerful F-1 engines that powered the first stage of the rocket. The Saturn V remains the largest and most powerful U.S. expendable launch vehicle ever built. The complete assembly, including the Apollo spacecraft and the Saturn launch vehicle, weighed over 6 million pounds.

Photo of a large rocket with white and gray thin gauge aluminum exterior  laying horizontally on display
Saturn V Launch Vehicle
Collection of the National Air and Space Museum
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