What ever happened to Apollo 2?

Some may have wondered as I did why there was an Apollo 1 and then the next Apollo mission was Apollo 4, where was Apollo 2 and 3? The answer is a strange one.

In February 1966 AS-201 was launched, this was the first Apollo-Saturn mission. It was a Saturn 1-B launch vehicle and was to test structural integrity and compatibility of launch vehicle and to confirm the launch loads. It also was to show the separation of the first and second stage and a few other things. This mission had been unofficially dubbed Apollo 1, for obvious reasons.

In August 1966 AS-202 launched with another set of tests and objectives to prove. AS-202 was called Apollo 2 to those who worked on it.

However in June 1966 The Crew of AS-204 (the first manned Apollo-Saturn mission) had requested that AS-204 be renamed Apollo 1 and authorised to have a Mission Patch, Grissom's crew shortly after the request did get approval and a patch was made.

AS-203 had already been launched in July and was really just to test the Command Module.

When the launch of Apollo 1(AS-204) was near, NASA administration was having second thoughts about calling it Apollo 1 and wanted to go back to AS-204. However on January 27, 1967 all that changed.

After the fire NASA Decided to call it AS-204 but the widows of the three astronauts reserved the name Apollo 1 for the flight their husbands would have flown. NASA agreed and Apollo 2 (AS-205) with Schirra, Eisele and Cunningham, to duplicate the Apollo 1 (AS-204) mission was canceled. CM-014 (AS-205) was subsequently disassembled in parallel with the disassembly of CM-012 (AS-204) in the post-fire Apollo 1 investigation.

Mission planners in Houston called the next scheduled launch Apollo 2. In March 1967, the administration decided for historic purposes, the flights should be called Apollo 1 (AS-204), Apollo 1A (AS-201), Apollo 2 (AS-202), and Apollo 3 (AS-203). In April, Julian Scheer, Assistant Administrator for Public Affairs, notified the centres that the NASA Project Designation Committee had approved the Office of Manned Space Flight recommendation of Apollo 4 for the first Apollo-Saturn V mission (AS-501), but there would be no retroactive renaming of AS-201, -202, or -203. Much correspondence followed, but the sequence of, and reasoning behind, mission designations has never been really clear to anyone.

So in fact there was an Apollo 2, in fact 3 of them, but they were all renamed or canceled for one reason or another.

Incidentally AS-205 with Walter M. Schirra, Jr, Donn F. Eisele and Walter Cunningham eventually came back as Apollo 7.

15 named missions made up the Apollo Project. Not including Skylab and Apollo-Soyuz

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