Apollo 4 was the first, nor unmanned test flight of the Saturn V rocket with the Apollo spacecraft. The launch took place on November 9, 1967 at 12:00:01 UTC clock from launch pad LC 39A Kennedy Space Center.
Apollo 4 was first placed in an orbit of about 190 km altitude. After two orbits of the third stage of the Saturn V was ignited once again, to bring later the engine of the Apollo service module it up to a distance of 18,000 km above the earth's surface. Apollo 4 turned and lit the engines again, so as to return to Earth at high speed. On the same day the spacecraft splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean and was recovered about 16 km from the planned landing site of the USS Bennington. All tests were successful.
At the second stage, S- II, two cameras were installed, which filmed the staging of the S- IC and the dropping of the intermediate ring and the separation of the S- IVB and their ignition. The cameras were running at four times the speed, and so allowed a slow motion view of the processes involved in staging. The film cassettes were isolated after exposure of the stage and landed on parachutes in the Atlantic, where they could be subsequently recovered.
The flight was the internal project number AS- 501.
After the January 27, 1967 three astronauts died in a test of the Apollo spacecraft killed, whose mission AS -204 was retroactively named Apollo 1. In April 1967 it was decided that the next flight would receive the designation Apollo 4 as part of the Apollo program. For the previous start, it stayed with the project names AS -201 (26 February 1966), AS -202 (25 August 1966) and AS -203 (5 July 1966), since they took place before Apollo 1. The name Apollo 2 and Apollo 3 have never been officially used.