Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|Mission Name:||Saturn-Apollo 3|
|Launch:||November 16, 1962|
|Landing:||November 16, 1962|
|Duration:||4 min 53 s|
|Apogee:||103.7 mi (166.9 km)|
|~104 mi (~167 km)|
|Apogee Mass:||138,480 kg|
SA-3 continued the testing regime that had started with SA-1. Each mission had a slight difference from the last testing another aspect of the system. For SA-3, the major difference from SA-1 and SA-2 was that for the first time the first stage would be fully loaded with propellants, instead of the 83% that was carried on the first two flights.
Also on this flight was a test of the retrorockets that fired to separate the first and second stages during a launch. On SA-3 these were not needed as the second stage was just a ballasted dummy. There were also other changes in the ability of the rocket to downlink data, for the first time this being in a digital stream, vital for the future automatic checking process that would go on before future launches.
And as with SA-2, this flight was part of Project High Water where the second stage was filled with 109,000 litres of water (about nine and a half olympic size swimming pools). An explosive charge was detonated that exploded the rocket, forming an artificial cloud.
The third development flight of the SA-3 was on 16 November, 1962. This was a tense time in the United States being only a couple of weeks after the Cuban Missile Crisis. As such there were no outside visitors in the launch control centre.
As this flight contained more fuel than the previous two rockets, the maximum height of the suborbital flight was 167 km, four minutes 53 seconds after launch. The extra fuel allowed the engineers at the Marshall Space Flight Center to see how the rocket reacted to a slower acceleration and longer burn time.
At the maximum height the charge was detonated, exploding the rocket. This happened correctly but poor telemetry made the results questionable.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details