First Saturn-1B Test Launch

Forty-five years ago today — February 26, 1966 — AS-201 (or “Apollo-Saturn-201”) launched from Cape Canaveral.

(AS-201 launch. NASA image.)

AS-201 was a suborbital test flight, and the first flight of the Saturn-1B with the Command and Service Modules. The flight test objectives were to:

  • Verify Saturn-1B structural integrity
  • Measure Saturn-1B launch loads
  • Evaluate Saturn-1B stage separation
  • Validate Saturn-1B subsystem operations
  • Evaluate Apollo spacecraft subsystems
  • Evaluate Apollo heatshield
  • Exercise Apollo mission support facilities

All of the objectives except the heatshield evaluation were met, marking another milestone on the way to the Moon.

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