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
The biggest concern before Apollo 9 was the docking maneuver.In early 1969, at NASA there was little confidence in the docking system. At a January program review, Phillips said that problems encountered during probe and drogue testing worried him…
The Command Module probe and the Lunar Module Drogue
McDivitt & Schweickart practice in the LM simulator
Schweickart in the spacesuit with the backpack
Lithograph print of the negative that flew on Apollo 9, with signatures of Grumman engineers and mechanics
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…