Amazing Apollo 4: NASA's 1st Saturn V Moon Rocket Test Flight in Photos

Standing Tall


On Nov. 9, 1967, NASA launched the first Saturn V moon rocket test flight: Apollo 4. See photos of the launch, and Earth from space, from the amazing Apollo 4 mission here.

This image: Gigantic, at 363-feet tall, the Apollo Saturn V space vehicle stands at attention at Launch Complex 39 on Pad A on November 8, 1967 ready to launch. Th Apollo 4 unmanned Earth-orbital space mission launched on November 9, 1967.



The IU rests securely atop the S-IC/S-II assembly. The unmanned Apollo 4 mission will test craft safety during launch and reentry for upcoming planned manned missions.

Sealing the Tank


A technician puts the final welds on the liquid oxygen tank for the unmanned Apollo 4 mission.

Last Steps


As the final assembly operation begins the instrument unit (IU) is prepared for mating to the S-IC/S-II assembly in the VAB high bay.

All Done


The Saturn V vehicle, following the assembly operation, stands at the ready after the work platform was removed and before being rolled out to the launch pad.

Preflight Prep


On June 20, 1967 the Apollo Spacecraft 017 is positioned in the high bay area of the Vehicle Assembly Building. The capsule will be mated with the Saturn V launch vehicle for the Apollo 4 space mission.

Transition to the Launch Pad


Aboard a crawler-transporter on August 26, 1967 the Apollo 4 stack (Spacecraft 017 and Saturn 501) attached to its mobile launch tower are moved from the Vehicle Assembly Building to Launch Complex 39 Pad A.

Awaiting Launch


At Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center, the complete Apollo Saturn 501 launch vehicle, mated to the Apollo spacecraft 017, sits on the launch pad after its ride over on the crawler-transporter.

A Stunning View


Early on the morning of Nov. 9, 1967, the Apollo 4 spacecraft sits on Pad A at Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39 with an awe-inspiring backdrop of sunrise.



A successful launch of the Apollo 4 space mission, made of the Apollo Spacecraft 017 and the Saturn 501, headed to space on November 9, 1967. The rocket launched from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Apollo 4 unmanned flight was designed as a test of the translunar motors and of the high speed entry required for a manned flight on return from the moon.

Launch Begins


The Apollo 4 space mission launched from Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39 Pad A on November 9, 1967. During its eight and a half hour journey the mission successfully completed two mission objectives.

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Christine Lunsford
Producer and Contributing Writer

Christine Lunsford joined the team in 2010 as a freelance producer and later became a contributing writer, covering astrophotography images, astronomy photos and amazing space galleries and more. During her more than 10 years with, oversaw the site's monthly skywatching updates and produced overnight features and stories on the latest space discoveries. She enjoys learning about subjects of all kinds.