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Apollo 4: The First Flight of the Saturn V

11 Nov 2017, 15:30 UTC
Apollo 4: The First Flight of the Saturn V
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

As the year 1967 began, NASA had ambitious plans in place to land astronauts on the Moon before the end of the decade. Unfortunately, the loss of the Apollo 1 crew in a fire on the pad during what should have been a routine countdown dress rehearsal on January 27, 1967 brought manned test flights of Apollo hardware to an abrupt halt (see “The Future That Never Came: The Unflown Mission of Apollo 1”). As investigators looked into the causes of the Apollo 1 tragedy and potential remedies, other aspects of the Apollo program were also experiencing delays making it appear less and less likely that Apollo would land on the Moon within the three years left of the decade.
The crew of Apollo 1 poses at LC-34 on January 17, 1967 – ten days before the pad fire which killed them. (NASA)
With this bad start, NASA and a constellation of contractors worked hard to get Apollo back on track. Meanwhile unmanned lunar missions continued to achieve their goals supporting the Apollo program. With the successful conclusion of the Lunar Orbiter 3 mission launched on February 3, 1967 (see “Lunar Orbiter 3: Preparing for Apollo”), NASA had mapped all ...

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