Apollo 2 and 3?

I just went through a binge of watching nearly Apollo mission-related program I could get my hands on (yes, this included Fox’s execrable Did we go to the moon? travesty of an hour’s wasting of my life). I watched the incredibly, complete HBO From the Earth to the Moon 12-part series, the awesome Criterion DVD of For All Mankind, and even Opie Howard’s Apollo 13 for the second time.

But, nowhere in there, at least as far as I know, did I get an explanation of why there were no Apollo missions 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6. I did some searching and found this page, which explains that 4-6 were unmanned missions, and that Apollo 7 was the first crewed Apollo flight. (Apollo 1, of course, was the tragic launchpad fire on 27 January 1967.)

So, what were Apollos 2 and 3?

Apollo 2 (July 5, 1966) and Apollo 3 (August 25, 1966) were suborbital tests. #2 tested the liquid hydrogen systems and #3 tested the heat shields. (The #1 test was designed to examine the abort procedures). They might also have gone under the flight numbers: AS-202 and AS-203, incidentally the same numbers as my first college astronomy courses. :slight_smile:

The Apollo program was all about baby-steps. Test each piece of equipment and each stage of the journey until success is achieved.

I’ve always heard it was in memory of the 3 astronauts of Apollo 1, but I can’t find a cite.

Ahh, on the page I referenced, there were two Apollo Uncrewed Suborbital Flights: AS-201 and AS-202. Nowhere is it stated that they were “Apollo 2” and “Apollo 3”. Of course, both were before the Apollo 1 accident.

Do you have a cite explaining that AS-201 and AS-202 were Apollos 2 and 3? And, if they were, why did they occur before Apollo 1?

Yes, this was made abundantly clear in the From the Earth to the Moon series.

Oops, I should probably clarify my answer. These tests occured BEFORE the Apollo 1 accident. People can rightfully claim that Apollo 2 and 3 never occured because there were no tests between Jan 1967 and Nov 1967. However, The “Apollo x” designation was retrofitted after the accident. Their flight was honorarily designated Apollo 1, but in actuality it was the fourth Apollo mission. Here’s a list to help explain:

Apollo 1A AS-204 01/27/1967 3 astronauts die in capsule
Apollo 1 AS-201 02/26/1966 rocket test
Apollo 2 AS-202 07/05/1966 liquid-hydrogen system tests
Apollo 3 AS-203 08/25/1966 heat shield tests
Apollo 4 AS-501 11/09/1967 first Saturn V launch

(up until Apollo 4, Saturn 1B’s were used)

Unfortunately, the naming scheme was a jumble and never officially codified. From the following site http://www.solarviews.com/history/SP-4205/ch9-4.html ,

Oops… should be …
Apollo 1 AS-204 01/27/1967 3 astronauts die in capsule
Apollo 1A AS-201 02/26/1966 rocket test

Confusing, isn’t it?

Great. Thankyouverymuch. I understood the 1/1A thing without a correction.

So, while we have this neato thread going, are there any popular Apollo-themed films I’m missing in my OP? I wanna collect them all!

There is one, the title of which I cannot recall, where a kid steals away aboard an Apollo rocket. Not unlike Apollo 13, the LEM has to be used as a lifeboat in order to keep the people aboard the craft alive, but that’s about all I can recall.

As a film, it’s pretty unremarkable except that when I saw it, at about the age of eight, I found it to be pretty much technically correct (I was probably a better authority on such things then than I am now–I had an actual 1963 Apollo technical manual). The flick’s worth mentioning because it just might have presaged the actual Apollo 13 incident, although I rather doubt it.

And they continued to be used, specifically, Apollo 7.

Despite the ridicule of this film (it appeared on MST3K) I like “Marooned.”

I poked around imdb.com, and found an interesting description of “Countdown” made in 1968. Here’s the synopsis: “The Apollo 3 crew are training when it is discovered that the Russians plan a moon landing. The Americans enact a makeshift plan to land a man on the moon first, using an older style Gemini spacecraft. Lee is chosen as the astronaut instead of Chiz, who was trained for the mission, because Lee has no military connection. Lee has three weeks to train before take-off, and will have to stay on the moon in a shelter for about a year, until an Apollo is ready to pick him up.”
Hey, I vaguely recall seeing that movie when I was a kid.

You might also be able to find a 4-part documentary series from 1985 called “Spaceflight” that has the history of all spaceflight from Tsiolkovsky onward. I saw it and it was great!

Also look for a TV documentary from 1999 called “Moonshot-the Spirit of 69.”

If you find any of these, let me know where, I’d be interested in seeing some of these films again myself.

That’s about all I can dig up, unless you want films with a very tenuous connection to Apollo, like “Alien Predator” or “Beyond the Stars.”

Re the request for Apollo related movies etc…

Check out the superb recent BBC series titled “The Planets”. In the episode devoted to lunar exploration, the attention is squarely upon the “untold” story of the aborted Russian lunar program. But there are frequent references to the Apollo missions and discoveries.

Take the time to watch the rest of the series as well. It was so well crafted, I had to go and buy myself a copy. I also learnt a shitload of stuff that I never knew before, so it was a damn good investment.

I remember that movie too. I recall the mission control officer shrugging off the fact that the vehicle weighed 100 lbs. more than it should. I also remember that the kid stayed with the CM and helped the astronaut there when he got sick and started vomiting.

I’m pretty sure it was a made-for-TV movie. I can’t recall any of the actors, so a search may prove fruitless.

SofaKing, you’re thinking of “Stowaway to the Moon” (1975), starring Lloyd Bridges in a role similar to the one he’d parody in “Airplane!” I remember thinking it was was da bomb when I was 13, but I don’t think it’d hold up today. After all, the titular kid managed to survive take-off G-forces inside a Hefty bag!

Montfort, don’t forget “The Right Stuff”, if you want to see pre-Apollo NASA. You should also read Jim Lovell’s “Lost Moon” and Andrew Chaykin’s “A Man on the Moon.”

This TV movie was called (logically enough) “Stowaway to the Moon.” It was definitely made after 1970 (the year of the Apollo 13 incident), probably more like 1975. I also remember Lloyd Bridges starring as the flight controller and Pete Conrad (Apollo 12) appearing in a cameo role.

Add “Moonshot” to your list of ‘must-watch’ space movies/documentaries. “Moonshot” was made in 1993 by Turner from Deke Slayton and Alan Shepard’s book of the same name. It’s a great behind the scene story, using archival footage, mostly of the original Mercury 7 astronauts, and narrated by Barry Corbin as Deke (who had died just previous to the publication of the book). Remember, too, that Corbin was, at the time, playing faux Mercury astronaut ‘Maurice Minnifield’ on “Northern Exposure.” Made for an interesting juxtaposition.

I should also point out that this is a different work than the previously mentioned “Moonshot-the Spirit of 69” (1999).


The NASA website talks about the “Apollo/Saturn 201 mission” under the heading of “AS-201.” Seems pretty official to me.

There was a TV mini-series in 1985 called “Space”, based on a nevel by James Michener. It chronicled a fictional Apollo 18 mission.

And I second Guy’s mention of “The Right Stuff”. It takes place before the Apollo missions (there’s a brief mention of the Apollo 1 fire at the very end), but it’s one of the best movies I’ve ever seen, so find any excuse you can to watch it.

There’s also the 1989 classic “Moontrap” starring Walter “Chekov” Koenig and Bruce Campbell. They start out as shuttle astronauts, then must travel to the Moon. NASA dusts off the unused LM from Apollo 18 (which in real life was refurbished for the From the Earth to the Moon miniseries) and sends them on their way. I wasn’t aware, though, that extra Saturn Vs are laying around (except in pieces as exhibits). And all the Command Modules were used up during the Skylab missions and Apollo/Soyuz, were they not?

Other ersatz Apollo moonwalkers: Tom Skerrit’s “Zach” in “Spacecamp” and “Spurgeon Tanner” (Robert Duvall) in “Deep Impact.” (Stranger still, Donald Sutherland played a Mercury washout in “Space Cowboys,” and Elliott Gould uncovered the phony Mars mission in “Capricorn One”!)

–Grump “swamp gas” y

Yeah, my thinking is that there were no Apollo 2 and 3 missions out of respect for Grissom, White, and Chaffee, as suggested by SmackFu.

Thanks, folks, for the movie tips. Just tonight I learned about The Dish, a new Australian film about the radio telescope that received Apollo 11’s signals in 1969. It looks rather charming, which hopefully means I can drag Anniz to see it with me. :wink: