A Saturn V liftoff is spectacular, and the launch of Apollo 11 was no exception. But it didn’t give the audience any surprises. To the three Gemini-experienced pilots, who likened the sensation to the boost of a Titan II, it was a normal launch.
Launch of Apollo 11
Former Pres. Johnson & current VP Spiro T. Agnew watch the launch of Apollo 11
In addition to the ordinary taxpayers who gathered on the beaches and roads of eastern Florida, 20,000 VIPs were invited by NASA to watch the lift off from viewing stands near the Vehicle Assembly Building.
Crane lifts first stage in preparation for stacking on mobile launcher
Second stage is moved in position to connect with first
Third stage is hoisted for connection to the second stage
Trouble began on the sixth day of the flight, November 17. The capsule developed an atmospheric leak, the pressure first dropping from 760 to 380 mm of Mercury. With the drop in cabin pressure all the animal test subjects died. It would have killed any Cosmonaut not wearing a spacesuit.
The first attempt for a Zond 4 follow-up launched on April 22. It failed when the Launch Escape System sent an erroneous abort command at T+260 seconds and shut down the Proton booster’s second stage. The escape rocket fired and pulled the descent module to safety.