Figure 16.2.1-1. Liftoff of Apollo-Saturn 201. Photo S66-22930 (NASA).
Launcher: Saturn IB.
Lunar orbit: none.
CM and LM call signs: not assigned (CM was present; LM was not).
Launch and return dates: February 26, 1966.
Lunar landing date and time: none.
Lunar landing site: none.
Number of moonwalks: none planned.
Mission duration: 37 minutes.
Time spent on the Moon: none planned.
Number of photographs taken: none. Automatic onboard movie cameras shot footage to acquire technical data.
Quantity of Moon rocks: none planned.
Notes: This was the first flight of a Saturn IB launcher, which consisted of an uprated version of the first stage of the Saturn I (launched successfully 10 times between October 1961 and July 1965) and a new second stage, the S-IVB, which would later become the third stage of the Saturn V. The flight was suborbital, reaching a maximum altitude of 488 kilometers (303 miles), and carried into space a Block I Apollo command and service module that had been modified specifically for this launch.
This mission tested the ignition and restarting of the service module engine and tested the structure and heat shield of the command module with a reentry that was slower (29,000 km/h, 18,000 mph) but steeper than those planned for crewed lunar missions.
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