A-102 (spacecraft)

The mission A-102 (also known as SA -7 ) was a test flight as part of the Apollo program, NASA. A two-stage Saturn I with a dummy of the Apollo spacecraft confirmed the compatibility of rocket and spacecraft and had three additional features to A- 101.


One of the simulated four-engine control jets ( RCS) of the Apollo dummy was fitted to the temperature and vibration during launch record. The functional rescue system ( Launch Escape System ( LES) ) was tested: The escape tower should not be blown off, but separated by the rocket apparatus from the command module. For the first time, a programmable control computer was used. So far, the missiles were launched with a pre-programmed control. It was now possible to reprogram during the flight from the ground station from the computer to respond to the potential for unexpected situations.

Apollo dummy (BP- 15)

( Called german Boilerplate ) The lifelike model consisted of the active launch escape system, a functional rescue rocket with 4.70 m height and the escape tower, a 3.05 m high structure for the rescue rocket, the Command Module, a conical aluminum construction with a base diameter of 3.91 m and 3.56 m in height, and the service module (SM ), an aluminum construction with a diameter of 3.91 m and 3.58 m height. It was mounted on the second stage by means of an adapter section and the instrument assembly.

The unit corresponded in dimensions, weight and center of gravity of a functioning manned Apollo spacecraft. It was equipped with advanced instruments who carried out 133 measurements, now the aerodynamic, temperature, vibration, static electricity and set this data to the telemetry systems. Measured from the second stage was the construction of a mass of 16,650 kg and a height of 24.4 m.


The steps were delivered on 7 and 12 June 1964 Kennedy Space Center and built on the Launch Complex 37B. In early July a hairline crack was found in the engine number six. This required the removal of all rocket motors and a control from the manufacturer. The ground crew was confronted for the first time at a Saturn rocket and thus the remodeling induced a two-week delay start. The Hurricane Cleo and Dora delayed him for a few more days.

History of the flight

The launch took place on September 18, 1964 at 16:22:00 UTC. After 148 seconds burning time, the first stage was separated and 1.7 seconds later the second ignited. After another 10 seconds, the LES was separated as planned by the engines of the rocket apparatus.

10 minutes and 21 seconds after the start waving the rocket into an orbit similar to that as used in the lunar missions for injection ( TLI, trans- lunar injection) should be used in the trajectory to the moon. The telemetry delivered five times around the world continuously for the data of the 131 readings.

After 59 Earth orbits the rocket burned up on September 22 in the atmosphere over the Indian Ocean.

Impact on the Apollo program

All objectives of this test flight was achieved. Drive, control and structural systems of the Saturn I met all expectations, the rescue system paired with the Apollo capsule and worked without problems.

Only the eight cameras that filmed the staging, then dropped and should be recovered later, did not land in the planned area. They got into the hurricane Gladis and the search had to be abandoned. Two months later, two of them were found already populated with crabs, but the films were undamaged.

As part of the Apollo program were to be brought into space in the next three missions Pegasus satellites to investigate micrometeorites.