Anniversary Nov 9, 2007 15:09:54 GMT -4
Post by gwiz on Nov 9, 2007 15:09:54 GMT -4
Today's the 40th anniversary of a major step to the first manned lunar landing. The Apollo 4 mission was the first test of the Saturn V launch vehicle, by a fair margin the largest ever launched. The first and second stages were making their first flight, while the third stage had been previously tested as the second stage of the Saturn 1B. This mission saw the sthird stage re-started, as it would be on the lunar missions, taking the Apollo CSM payload out to 18000 km from Earth. The Apollo propulsion system was used to increase the return speed to match that required for a lunar mission, thus giving a full test of the re-entry process. The mission set several records. Apart from the obvious ones associated with the largest ever rocket, these included payload mass to earth orbit and altitude for a recovered payload.