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Apollo 3 a.k.a AS-202 or SA-202 was sub-orbital test flight of the Saturn IB and command and service. The mission’s purpose was to test the rocket more than had been done on AS 201 by launching the rocket higher and having the flight lasting twice as long. It would also test the command and service module,CSM-011, by having the engine firing four times during the flight. The flight was also designed to test out the heat shield by subjecting it to 260 megajoule per square meter. Over the course of the reentry it generated the equivalent energy needed to power 1966 Los Angeles for over one minute.
CSM-011 used during Apollo 3 was basically a production model capable of carrying a crew. However it lacked the crew couches and some displays that would be included on later missions for the astronauts. This was the first flight of the guidance and navigation system as well as the fuel cell’s electrical system.
The last test flight the Saturn IB launched August 25, 1966 from Pad 34. The launch phase was perfectly nominal with the first stage burning for just under two and a half minutes lifting the rocket to 56 km in altitude and 56 km downrange from the launch pad. The second stage burned for a further seven and half minutes putting the spacecraft into a ballistic trajectory with a maximum altitude of 216 km. The CSM was pre-programmed to make four burns of its service propulsion system (SPS). The first occurred a couple of seconds after separation from the S-IVB second stage. It burned for 3 minutes, 35 seconds lifting the spacecraft apogee to 1,128.6 km. The second burn was 25 minutes later lasting one minute 28 seconds. Two more burns each of three seconds were done ten seconds later to test the rapid restart capabilities of the engine. As well as testing the SPS, these burns accelerated the spacecraft for an 8900 meters per second reentry. The reentry was a roller coaster like ride, with the spacecraft first dipping down from 122,000 m to 66,000 m. It then lifted back up to 81,000 m. By this time it had shed 1,300 meter/second in speed. It then dipped down for the last time. The main parachutes deployed at 7250 meters in altitude. Splash down occurred 370 km from the target landing site.
There is a great article on the Apollo 3 mission here. Here on Universe Today there is a great article to dispel the myth that the moon landing was a fake. Astronomy Cast offers a great episode about the current space shuttle.