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First Saturn V Launch

IMAGE: Drawing of Command and Service Module

MissionApollo IV
Lift OffSaturn V
Nov. 9, 1967
7:00 a.m. EST
KSC, Florida
Complex 39-A
Nov. 9, 1967
3:37 p.m. EST
Atlantic Ocean
Duration8 hours,
36 minutes,
59 seconds

IMAGE: Apollo 40th anniversary

IMAGE: The Apollo 4 Mission

The uncrewed Saturn/Apollo 4, or AS-501, mission was the first all-up test of the three-stage Saturn V rocket. It carried a payload of an Apollo Command and Service Module, or CSM, into Earth orbit. The mission was designed to test all aspects of the Saturn V launch vehicle and also returned pictures of Earth taken by the automatic Command Module apogee camera from about one hour before to one hour after apogee.

Mission objectives included testing of structural integrity, compatibility of launch vehicle and spacecraft, heat shield and thermal seal integrity, overall reentry operations, launch loads and dynamic characteristics, stage separation, launch vehicle subsystems, the emergency detection system and mission support facilities and operations. The mission was deemed a successful test.

Orbital insertion was achieved by ignition of the third (S-IVB) stage, putting the spacecraft -- S-IVB and CSM -- into a 184 x 192-kilometer (114 x 119-mile) parking orbit with a period of 88.2 minutes and an inclination of 32.6 degrees. After two orbits, the S-IVB was re-ignited for a simulated translunar injection burn, putting the spacecraft into an Earth-intersecting trajectory with an apogee of 17,346 kilometers (10,778 miles.)

The S-IVB stage then separated from the CSM, and the service propulsion system, or SPS, ignited for 16 seconds, raising the apogee to 18,216 kilometers (11,319 miles.) Later, the SPS was re-ignited for 271 seconds to accelerate the CSM to beyond lunar trajectory return velocities. SPS cutoff was followed by separation of the Command Module from the Service Module and orientation of the Command Module for reentry.

Atmospheric entry at 122 kilometers (75.8 miles) occurred at a flight-path angle of 7.077 degrees with a velocity of 11,140 meters per second (24,919 miles per hour.) The Command Module landed near Hawaii at 20:37 UT 9 Nov. 1967 about 16 kilometers (9.9 miles) from the target landing point.

The Missions

IMAGE: Apollo 4 liftoff
Related Links
* 40th Anniversary
*KSC Apollo 4 Site
*Apollo 4 Mission Gallery

Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: Amiko Kauderer | Updated: 07/01/2009
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