After Operation British failed to destroy the Earth Federation Forces military headquarters in Jaburo, South America, the Zeon began to pursue other, more direct ways, of trying to destroy the subterranean base. The "Apsalus Project", directed by Zeon scientist Ginias Sahalin, was perhaps one of the most feasible of the plans to destroy Jaburo, and so it was given funding priority. The main idea of the plan involved getting a mobile armor to fly over Jaburo and destroy the base with a powerful beam weapon.
The first phase of the Apsalus Project involved creating the massive mobile armor that could operate in the upper atmosphere or low-Earth space orbit. To achieve atmospheric flight the Apsalus used the Minovsky Craft System, which created a highly concentrated cushion of Minovsky Particles between the mobile armor and the Earth, providing lift.
The Apsalus I, built in a Zeon mountain base in Southeast Asia, served as the test-bed for the Minovsky Craft System. Built with many spare parts from old MS-06 Zaku IIs, the Apsalus required a very powerful generator to run its Minovsky Craft System. Built under the direct supervision of Ginias Sahalin, the Apsalus I would be piloted by his sister, Aina Sahalin, on its test flight. During flight tests the Apsalus I was proved to be flight capable, but the generators output was not sufficient enough to keep the Apsalus I at a stable height. Due to its role as a test unit the Apsalus I had no armaments, but it was able to manipulate the Minovsky Craft System to release powerful energy pulses over a short area that could be used as a defensive ability.
During one test flight, the Apsalus I lost altitude and was severely damaged when it came under attack from the Earth Federation Forces 08th Mobile Suit Team, which was on a routine patrol through the area. Heavily damaged, the Apsalus I later crash landed in a small village where it stayed until it was repaired and was flown back to the Zeonic mountain base. The data obtained from the Apsalus I would be used to create its improved version, the Apsalus II.