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Santa Monica College Planetarium Marks 50th Anniversary of Apollo 4 Mission


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By Jorge Casuso

October 23, 2017 -- The famous "giant step for mankind" would be taken nearly two years later, but the successful launch of Apollo 4 in November 1967 was a major step towards landing the first man on the moon.

On Friday, November 3, the Santa Monica College John Drescher Planetarium will revisit the first unmanned test that took place 50 years ago on November 9, 1967 and was covered live on American television.

Rendering of Saturn V Launch Vehicle
Scale rrendering of Saturn V (Courtesy of NASA)

Apollo 4: When the Power Met the Dream," includes some of the original coverage of what planetarium officials call a "pivotal, triumphant day" witnessed in living rooms across America.

The "all-up" test of the Saturn V launch vehicle, which would be used to send the first astronauts to the moon, was initially planned for the previous year but was delayed due to technical problems.

The mission was deemed a complete success, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean after a 9-hour flight and paving the way for a manned moon landing before the end of the decade.

The "all-up" test of the Saturn V spacecraft, which was initially planned for the previous year, was delayed due to development problems and wiring defects.

The mission was deemed a complete success, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean after a 9-hour flight and paving the way for landing astronauts on the moon and bringing them back before the end of the decade.

On Friday, November 17, those shopping for a telescope this holiday season can get useful tips during the planetarium's “Holiday Telescope Buyer Survival Guide” geared toward "a budding young scientist or newly star-struck adult," officials said.

"Anyone considering giving a telescope as a holiday gift will face a bewildering array of choices and a whole new jargon," event organizers said.

"This program -- presented in time to shop before the good suppliers sell out of the best starter instruments -- will de-mystify things and provide some concrete examples and recommendations for first-time telescope shoppers."

The feature shows and a telescope viewing session take place at 8 p.m. and are preceded at 7 p.m. by “The Night Sky Show,” which offers "the latest news in astronomy and space exploration, a family-friendly 'tour' of the constellations and answers to astronomy-related questions.

The John Drescher Planetarium, which features a Digistar projection system, is located near the elevators on the second floor of Drescher Hall, 1900 Pico Boulevard.

Tickets are available at the door and cost $11 ($9 seniors and children) for the evening’s scheduled “double bill," or $6 ($5 seniors age 60 and older and children age 12 and under) for a single show or telescope-viewing session.

For more information call (310) 434-3005 or visit All shows are subject to change or cancellation without notice.


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