This historic NASA film profiles the Apollo 4 mission (also known as AS-501). This was the first, unmanned test flight of the Saturn V launch vehicle, which was used by the U.S. Apollo program to send the first astronauts to the Moon. The space vehicle was assembled in the Vehicle Assembly Building, and was the first to be launched from Launch Complex 39 at the John F. Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida, facilities built specially for the Saturn V.
Apollo 4 was an "all-up" test, meaning all rocket stages and spacecraft were fully functional on the initial flight, a first for NASA. It was the first time the S-IC first stage and S-II second stage flew. It also demonstrated the S-IVB third stage's first in-flight restart. The mission used a Block I Command Service Module (CSM) modified to test several key Block II revisions, including its heat shield at simulated lunar-return velocity and angle.
Originally planned for late 1966, the flight was delayed to November 9, 1967, largely due to development problems of the S-II stage encountered by North American Aviation, the manufacturer of the stage. Delay was also caused, to a lesser extent, by a large number of wiring defects found by NASA in the Apollo spacecraft, also built by North American.
The mission was the first Apollo flight after the stand-down imposed after the Apollo 1 fire which killed the first Apollo crew. It was the first to use NASA's official Apollo numbering scheme established in April 1967, designated Apollo 4 because there had been three previous unmanned Apollo/Saturn flights in 1966, using the Saturn IB launch vehicle.
The mission lasted almost nine hours, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean, achieving all mission goals. NASA deemed the mission a complete success, because it proved the Saturn V worked, an important step towards achieving the Apollo program's objective of landing astronauts on the Moon and bringing them back safely, before the end of the decade.
This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD and 2K. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com