Skip to main content

Space History Photo: Apollo 4 Launch

space history, NASA, rocket launches
Apollo/Saturn V pictured at the first unmanned test flight.
(Image: © NASA.)

In this historical photo from the U.S. space agency on Nov. 9, 1967, Apollo 4, the first test flight of the Apollo/Saturn V space vehicle, was launched from Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39.

This was an unmanned test flight intended to prove that the complex Saturn V rocket could perform its requirements. All three stages separated successfully and their engines performed as planned. The third stage also restarted in orbit, which was a requirement for lunar missions.

At the end of the flight, the unmanned Apollo spacecraft reentered and proved that it could survive the intense heat generated during a high-speed return from the moon.

Each weekday, SPACE.com looks back at the history of spaceflight through photos (archive).

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com.