Perhaps the most significant point about the lunar-orbit flight proposed for Apollo 8 was that the command and service modules would fly the same route to the moon as would be used for the actual lunar landing.
General Samuel C. Phillips. Director of Apollo Manned Lunar Landing program
Dr. Wernher von Braun. The Rocket Man.
George Mueller Assoc. Admin. for NASA Office of Manned Space Flight
Apollo Saturn 201 employed the Saturn IB launch vehicle, which was the up-rated version of the Saturn I rocket flown in ten earlier Saturn-Apollo missions. It featured an upgrade of the first stage engines to increase thrust from 1,500,000 lb-ft of thrust to 1,600,000 lb-ft. The second stage was the S-IVB. This stage used a new liquid hydrogen-burning J-2 engine which would also be used on the S-II second stage of the Saturn V lunar launch vehicle…