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Saturn SA-7



The Saturn 1 (SA-7) vehicle demonstrated launch vehicle/spacecraft compatibility and tested the launch escape system. It carried a boilerplate model command module and service module and an instrument unit to Earth orbit.

Spacecraft and Subsystems

The Saturn 1 launch vehicle was a two-stage booster with the Apollo payload attached to the S-IV second stage. The Apollo payload was a boilerplate command and service module (BP-15) . The command module was an aluminum structure simulating the size, weight, shape, and center of gravity of a crewed Apollo command module. It was a 356 cm high conical structure with a base diameter of 391 cm, and was covered with cork insulation to prevent overheating. A 305 cm high escape tower was mounted on top to support a 470 cm launch escape motor. The service module was a 391 cm diameter, 358 cm long aluminum structure mounted beneath the command module. It was attached to an insert section, which was attached to an adaptor section, which remained with the instrument unit and S-IV second stage. The Apollo boilerplate had a mass of 7800 kg, the entire Apollo-instrument unit-second stage payload had a mass of 16,650 kg in orbit and was 24.4 meters long. The spacecraft was instrumented for 133 measurements such as heat rates, temperatures, aerodynamics, and static loads.

Mission Profile

The Saturn 1 placed the boilerplate Apollo CSM instrument unit and spent S-IV stage in an Earth orbit similar to the interim orbit planned for future Apollo astronaut missions. An elaborate system of eight motion picture cameras and one TV camera was mounted on the S-1 stage to record flight events. The motion picture cameras were ejected following the S-1 powered flight but were not recovered. The spacecraft orbit decayed on September 22 after 59 orbits. Telemetry was obtained from 131 separate and continuous measurements. All test objectives were met, including final verification of the Saturn 1 propulsion, guidance, and structural systems, development testing of the Apollo spacecraft during atmospheric exit, test jettisoning of the CSM launch escape system, and compatibility of the CSM with the launch system.

Alternate Names

  • 00883
  • Apollo SA-7 Test Flight
  • SaturnSA-7

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1964-09-18
Launch Vehicle: Saturn 1
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, United States
Mass: 16700 kg

Funding Agency

  • NASA-Office of Manned Space Flight (United States)


  • Engineering

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office


Other Sources of Apollo Information at NSSDCA

Apollo page
Lunar Science Page

Related Information at NSSDCA

Moon page

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