First Launch: 1961-10-27. Last Launch: 1968-10-11. Number: 7 . Longitude: -80.56 deg. Latitude: 28.52 deg.
Complexes 34 and 37 were designed to support NASA's Saturn I and Saturn IB program. Construction started on Complex 34 in June 1959, and NASA accepted the site from the contractor on 10 January 1962. Four Saturn I and three Saturn IB vehicles were launched from Complex 34 between 27 October 1961 and 12 October 1968. Though Complex 34 was held in standby status for possible use in the Skylab program, NASA finally decided to use Complex 39B on Merritt Island instead. Complexes 34 and 37 were mothballed in November 1971, and their service structures were scrapped in April 1972. NASA retained control of both complexes, and both sites became NASA tour stops. Complex 34 was declared a national historic landmark in April 1984.
Huge Saturn launch complex at Cape Canaveral dedicated in brief ceremony by NASA, construction of which was supervised by the Army Corps of Engineers. Giant gantry, weighing 2,800 tons and being 310 feet high, is largest movable land structure in North America.
Largest known rocket launch to date, the Saturn I 1st stage booster, successful on first test flight from Atlantic Missile Range. With its eight clustered engines developing almost 1.3 million pounds of thrust at launch, the Saturn (SA-1) hurled waterfilled dummy upper stages to an altitude of 84.8 miles and 214.7 miles down range. In a postlaunch statement, Administrator Webb said: "The flight today was a splendid demonstration of the strength of our national space program and an important milestone in the buildup of our national capacity to launch heavy payloads necessary to carry out the program projected by President Kennedy on May 25.".
Second suborbital test of Saturn I. The Saturn SA-2 first stage booster was launched successfully from Cape Canaveral. The rocket was blown up intentionally and on schedule about 2.5 minutes after liftoff at an altitude of 65 miles, dumping the water ballast from the dummy second and third stages into the upper atmosphere. The experiment, Project Highwater, produced a massive ice cloud and lightning-like effects. The eight clustered H-1 engines in the first stage produced 1.3 million pounds of thrust and the maximum speed attained by the booster was 3,750 miles per hour. Modifications to decrease the slight fuel sloshing encountered near the end of the previous flight test were successful.
Third suborbital test of Saturn I. Saturn-Apollo 3 (Saturn C-1, later called Saturn I) was launched from the Atlantic Missile Range. Upper stages of the launch vehicle were filled with 23000 gallons of water to simulate the weight of live stages. At its peak altitude of 167 kilometers (104 miles), four minutes 53 seconds after launch, the rocket was detonated by explosives upon command from earth. The water was released into the ionosphere, forming a massive cloud of ice particles several miles in diameter. By this experiment, known as "Project Highwater," scientists had hoped to obtain data on atmospheric physics, but poor telemetry made the results questionable. The flight was the third straight success for the Saturn C-1 and the first with maximum fuel on board.
Fourth suborbital test of Saturn I. The S-I Saturn stage reached an altitude of 129 kilometers (80 statute miles) and a peak velocity of 5,906 kilometers (3,660 miles) per hour. This was the last of four successful tests for the first stage of the Saturn I vehicle. After 100 seconds of flight, No. 5 of the booster's eight engines was cut off by a preset timer. That engine's propellants were rerouted to the remaining seven, which continued to burn. This experiment confirmed the "engine-out" capability that MSFC engineers had designed into the Saturn I.
Apollo-Saturn 201 was launched from Cape Kennedy, with liftoff of an Apollo Block I spacecraft (CSM 009) on a Saturn IB launch vehicle at 11:12:01 EST. Launched from Launch Complex 34, the unmanned suborbital mission was the first flight test of the Saturn IB and an Apollo spacecraft. Total launch weight was 22,000 kilograms.
Spacecraft communications blackout lasted 1 minute 22 seconds. Reentry was initiated with a space-fixed velocity of 29,000 kilometers per hour. CM structure and heatshields performed adequately. The CM was recovered by the USS Boxer from the Atlantic about 72 kilometers uprange from the planned landing point. (8.18 S x 11.15 W).
Spacecraft 011 was essentially a Block I spacecraft with the following exceptions: couches, crew equipment, and the cabin postlanding ventilation were omitted; and three auxiliary batteries, a mission control programmer, four cameras, and flight qualification instrumentation were added.
Of six primary test objectives assigned to the mission, the objectives for the environmental control, electrical power, and communications subsystems were not completely satisfied. All other spacecraft test objectives were successfully accomplished.
Apollo 7 (AS-205), the first manned Apollo flight, lifted off from Launch Complex 34 at Cape Kennedy Oct. 11, carrying Walter M. Schirra, Jr., Donn F. Eisele, and R. Walter Cunningham. The countdown had proceeded smoothly, with only a slight delay because of additional time required to chill the hydrogen system in the S-IVB stage of the Saturn launch vehicle. Liftoff came at 11:03 a.m. EDT. Shortly after insertion into orbit, the S-IVB stage separated from the CSM, and Schirra and his crew performed a simulated docking with the S-IVB stage, maneuvering to within 1.2 meters of the rocket. Although spacecraft separation was normal, the crew reported that one adapter panel had not fully deployed. Two burns using the reaction control system separated the spacecraft and launch stage and set the stage for an orbital rendezvous maneuver, which the crew made on the second day of the flight, using the service propulsion engine.
Crew and spacecraft performed well throughout the mission. During eight burns of the service propulsion system during the flight, the engine functioned normally. October 14, third day of the mission, witnessed the first live television broadcast from a manned American spacecraft.