||SA-5: Block II Saturn I at Complex 37
It is December 15th of 1963, and a Saturn I (Block II) is being prepared for
launch at Complex 37, Pad B for unmanned mission SA-5. The Saturn I is the predecessor
of the more powerful Saturn IB, and the famous Saturn V that launched the Apollo
lunar missions. The Saturn I was originally called the "Juno V", but
was designated "Saturn C-1" in 1959. It was subsequently shortened to
"Saturn I" in 1963.
The first stage consisted of a Jupiter tank
surrounded by a cluster of eight Redstone tanks. This configuration was jokingly referred to
as "Cluster's Last Stand." The Saturn I as flown in its first missions
was a "Block I" vehicle, with 1.3 million lbs. of thrust, and dummy
upper stages. The "Block II" vehicle, first flown in unmanned mission
SA-5, featured an uprated first stage, stabilizing fins, and live upper stages.
SA-5 mission was originally scheduled for January 27, 1964. Problems with the
LOX system in the first stage delayed the launch by two days. When launched on
the 29th, the mission was a success, meeting the objective of a flight test for
the S-IV second stage.