United States space scientists are calling the Saturn Five Apollo Mission of Thursday (9 Nov) "flawless".
MS First stage in rocket falling away; earth looms in background
MS Rocket ring and earth in background
MS Flaming ring falling away with earth viable in background.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: United States space scientists are calling the Saturn Five Apollo Mission of Thursday (9 Nov) "flawless". The key part of the 285,000 pound payload, the Apollo spacecraft, was brought down in the Pacific Ocean about 700 miles north-west of Hawaii. Recovery ships picked it out of choppy waters within ten miles of its original aiming point.
Cameras on board the successful Saturn Five rocket photographed the fiery separation of the first stage from the second, while the speeding rocket carried its payload into orbit.
The first stage, called the booster stage, fired for two and one-half minutes. At an altitude of 38 miles it cut off its engines and separated from the rest of the space vehicles by firing explosive bolts. The vehicle sped away from the first stage at 6100 miles per hour. Then the ring which held the first stage to the vehicle also fell away.
The Saturn Five mission accomplished all its goals. The mission proved the Saturn Five, the heaviest object ever lifted off the earth, could fly and that the Apollo Space Craft was equal to its appointed task of carrying three astronauts to the moon and back to earth.
At a news conference Major General Samuel Phillips, program manager for the 23-billion dollar Apollo Space Project said: "Yesterday (the day before the launch on Nov. 9) I would have said we (the United States) have a reasonably good chance of accomplishing a lunar landing before the end of 1969. Today I think that reasonably good chance is maybe a notch above reasonably good.