Apollo 5 in Photos: NASA's First Lunar Module Test Flight

Ready for the Rocket


NASA's Apollo 5 mission launched on Jan. 22, 1968 and marked the first test flight of the Lunar Module that would eventually carry astronauts to the moon. See photos from the historic mission here!

This Image: In preparation for the Apollo 5 unmanned space mission, Lunar Module-1 is positioned to be attached to the Spacecraft Lunar Module Adapter-7 in the Manned Spacecraft Operations Building at Kennedy Space Center.

Watch and Learn


On January 22, 1968, astronauts Walter M. Schirra, Jr. (left) and R. Walter Cunningham, two prime crew members for the first manned Apollo space flight prepare to observe the Apollo V launch. Behind the astronauts the Apollo V stack — comprised of the Lunar Module-1 and the Saturn 204 — stand on Launch Complex 37 awaiting launch.

Apollo 5 Lunar Module Gets a Boost


Engineers at NASA's Kennedy Space Center hoist the Saturn Lunar Module (LM) Adapter into position during assembly of the 204LM-1, an uncrewed Apollo mission (also called Apollo 5) that tested the Apollo Lunar Module in Earth orbit. This image was taken on Nov. 1, 1967.

Apollo 5 Gets a Nose Cone


The nose cone for the Saturn IBC rocket carrying NASA's uncrewed Apollo 5 mission is fitted into place at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in this photo taken Nov. 1, 1967. The mission launched on Jan. 22, 1968.

Proper Timing

NASA via Wikimedia

At Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral, the Apollo 5 unmanned space mission — Saturn IB AS-204 with Lunar Module-1 — is prepared and awaits liftoff.



On January 22, 1968 the Apollo 5 unmanned space mission, which was made of Lunar Module-1 and Saturn 204, launched into space at 5:48:09 p.m. ET from Launch Complex 37 at Kennedy Space Center.

Eager Anticipation


Inside the Mission Control Center Dr. Robert R. Gilruth (right), MSC Director and Dr. Christopher C. Kraft Jr., MSC director of flight operations monitor the Apollo 5 unmanned space mission from the flight operations director console.

Liftoff Achieved


The Apollo 5 unmanned space mission was launched into orbit with Lunar Module-1 mounted atop a Saturn IB first stand and a Saturn S-IVB second stage.

Mission Accomplished


During the Apollo 5 flight test, ascent and descent propulsion systems were shown. The flight also confirmed the craft's ability to abort a lunar landing and return to orbit. The Apollo 5 unmanned space mission was deemed a complete success.

Nostalgic Badge

Grumman Aerospace via Wikimedia

A mission patch honors the Apollo 5 unmanned space mission, which was the first test flight of the Apollo Lunar Module.

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Christine Lunsford
Producer and Contributing Writer

Christine Lunsford joined the Space.com 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 Space.com, 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.