AS-102 (spacecraft)

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AS-102
Saturn SA7 launch.jpg
Launch of AS-102
Mission type Spacecraft aerodynamics
Operator NASA
COSPAR ID 1964-057A
SATCAT № 883
Mission duration ~7 hours, 30 minutes
Orbits completed 59
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft Apollo BP-15
Launch mass 16,700 kilograms (36,800 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date September 18, 1964, 16:22:43 (1964-09-18UTC16:22:43Z) UTC
Rocket Saturn I SA-7
Launch site Cape Canaveral LC-37B
End of mission
Disposal Uncontrolled reentry
Last contact September 18, 1964 (1964-09-19Z) UTC
Decay date September 22, 1964 UTC
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Low Earth orbit
Perigee 177 kilometers (96 nmi)
Apogee 206 kilometers (111 nmi)
Inclination 31.7 degrees
Period 88.32 minutes
Epoch September 20, 1964[1]

Apollo program
← AS-101 AS-103

AS-102 (also designated SA-7) was the seventh flight of the Saturn I launch vehicle, which carried the boilerplate Apollo spacecraft BP-15 into low Earth orbit.[2] The test flight took place on September 18, 1964, lasting for five orbits (about seven and a half hours). The spacecraft and its upper stage reentered the atmosphere and landed in the Indian Ocean on September 22, 1964.

Objectives[edit]

AS-102 was designed to repeat the flight of AS-101. It would once again carry a boilerplate Apollo Command and Service Module. The only difference from Boilerplate 13 carried on AS-101 was that on Boilerplate 15, one of the simulated Reaction Control System thruster quads (attitude control thrusters) was instrumented to record launch temperatures and vibrations. Another major difference on AS-102 was that the Launch Escape System (LES) tower would be jettisoned using the launch escape and pitch control motors. The mission used Apollo boilerplate BP-15.

AS-102 was the first time a Saturn rocket carried a programmable guidance computer. Previous launches had used an onboard "black box" that was preprogrammed.[citation needed] On AS-102 it would be possible to reprogram the computer during flight so that any anomalous behavior could potentially be corrected.

Flight[edit]

In early July, a small crack in engine number six was found. This meant removing the engine, the first time that the ground crew had to do this with a Saturn rocket. It was then decided to return all eight engines to the manufacturer, which meant a job that took about ten hours because the large number of tubes, hoses and wires that connected each engine to the rocket. The replacement delayed the launch by about a fortnight, followed by another delay of several days because of Hurricanes Cleo and Dora.

Launch was on 18 September from Cape Canaveral, Florida just before noon local time. The first stage burned for 147.7 seconds, with separation 0.8 seconds later. The second stage ignited 1.7 seconds later, and the LES jettisoned at 160.2 seconds after launch. It burned until +621.1 seconds with the stage and boilerplate in a 212.66 by 226.50 km orbit.

The flight met all its objectives. The spacecraft continued to transmit telemetry for five orbits and was tracked right up until re-entry on its 59th orbit over the Indian Ocean.

The only anomalous event on the flight was the failure to recover the eight film-camera pods. They had landed downrange of the expected area, where Hurricane Gladys ruled out a continued search. However, two of the pods did wash ashore two months later. The pods were covered with barnacles, but the film inside was undamaged.

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

  1. ^ McDowell, Jonathan. "Satellite Catalog". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 31 October 2013. 
  2. ^ NSSDC: SA-7

External links[edit]