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27 October 1961 - Saturn I SA-1 Launch

Image credit: NASA

27 October 1961 marked the first flight of the new Saturn I rocket. The launch took place from Cape Canaveral, Florida and it marked the very first mission flown with a rocket of the Saturn-family. Mission SA-1 is also the very first Apollo mission.

The Saturn I rocket replaced the Jupiter-C rocket and was 3x taller, required 6x more fuel and produced 10x more thrust.

Image credit: NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (NASA-MSFC)

The main goal of the SA-1 mission was a test of the first stage. The other stages were dummy stages (and were tested during other test flights).

The mission went according to plan and after reaching about 136.5 km in altitude, the rocket crashed 347.5 km from the launch site into the Atlantic Ocean. 

Check out this amazing slow-mo footage of the launch: (liftoff at 2m18s)

About 10 Saturn I rockets were flown before it was replaced by the more powerful Saturn IB.


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