On This Day in Space! March 28, 1963: Last test flight of NASA's Saturn 1 rocket booster

On March 28, 1963, NASA launched the first stage booster of its new Saturn 1 rocket on a fourth and final test flight. This uncrewed suborbital flight helped pave the way for astronauts to launch to the moon

After this initial test phase, NASA started launching test flights with a live second stage and boilerplate versions of the Apollo Command/Service Module.This test flight, designated SA-4, carried a dummy second stage to test the aerodynamics of the real second stage.

Another thing NASA tested during this flight was a new system to deal with engine failure. One of the eight engines was programmed to shut off mid-flight. Fuel from the “failed” engine was then re-routed to the other engines so the rocket could keep going.

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