Saturn I SA-1

SA-1 was the first test flight as part of the Apollo program and the first launch of a Saturn I.


The size and power of the Saturn rocket family introduced a new dimension in space dar. So NASA decided to conduct a separate test flight for each component of the rocket. During this flight, only the first stage was active, the second stage and the third, a Jupiter nose cone was filled with water to simulate the starting weight. The only goal of this mission was to test the functionality of the first stage.


The missile was delivered on August 15, 1961 at the sea. This was seen as a test for the delivery of greater levels of future Saturn rockets. On the way we had some difficulties with the maneuvering and on the way encountered the transporter against a bridge, where minor damage was caused. The assembly of the rocket began on August 20, then performed a number of tests on the launch pad. Due to minor problems they came slightly late in the timetable, especially since the test procedures were not yet automated.

History of the flight

On 26 October, 17:30 UTC, the RP -1 tank was tested as filled to 103 % and then reduced to the required amount. At 8:00 clock the following day was fueling with liquid oxygen. After a ten-hour countdown with two breaks the rocket at 15:06:04 UTC took off.

The flight was a complete success, the rocket reached an altitude of 136.2 km, and struck a total of 15 minutes of flight 331.5 km from the launch site in the Atlantic Ocean. Slightly less than planned, as the engines have 1.6 seconds off too soon. This was attributed to an error in the refueling, 400 kg too much liquid oxygen and 410 kg too little RP -1.


The senior engineers gave the new missile only a 75 % chance of ever withdraw from the launch site, and expected with just 30% of that of the whole flight successfully verliefe.

After the successful flight is now preparing for the next test (SA -2) before, in which even the project High Water should be used.