- Apollo 7
Infobox Space mission
mission_name = "Apollo 7"
insignia = AP7lucky7.png
command_module = CM-101 mass 14,781 kg
service_module = SM-101
crew_members = 3
launch_pad = LC-34 nowrap|Cape Canaveral AFS
launch_date = October 11, 1968 15:02:45 UTC
apogee=297 km |perigee=231 km |period=89.78 m |inclination=31.63°
orbits = 163
landing = October 22, 1968 11:11:48 UTC coord|27|32|N|64|04|W
mission_duration = 10 d 20 h 09 m 03 s
crew_photo = Apollo7_Prime_Crew_(May_22,_1968).jpg
crew_caption = Left to right: Eisele, Schirra, Cunningham
Apollo 7 was the first manned mission in the
Apollo programto be launched. It was an eleven-day Earth-orbital mission, the first manned launch of the Saturn IBlaunch vehicle, and the first three-man American space mission.
Number in parentheses indicates number of spaceflights by each individual prior to and including this mission.
* Walter M. Schirra (3) - Commander
Donn F. Eisele(1) - Command Module Pilot
* R. Walter Cunningham (1) - Lunar Module Pilot
This crew was originally the backup crew of the ill-fated
This crew flew on
Glynn Lunney(Lead), Black Team
Gene Kranz, White Team
Gerry Griffin, Gold Team
Apollo 7 was a confidence-builder. After the January 1967 Apollo launch pad fire, the Apollo command module had been extensively redesigned. Schirra, who would be the only astronaut to fly Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions, commanded this Earth-orbital shakedown of the command and service modules. Since it was "not" carrying a
lunar module, Apollo 7 could be launched with the Saturn IBbooster rather than the much larger and more powerful Saturn V. Schirra wanted to give Apollo 7 the callsign "Phoenix" (the mythical bird rising from its own ashes) in memory of the loss of the Apollo 1 crew, but NASA management was against the idea.
The Apollo hardware and all mission operations worked without any significant problems, and the Service Propulsion System (SPS), the all-important engine that would place Apollo in and out of lunar orbit, made eight nearly perfect firings.
Even though Apollo's larger cabin was more comfortable than Gemini's, eleven days in orbit took its toll on the astronauts. The food was bad, and Schirra developed a cold. As a result, he became irritable with requests from Mission Control and all three began "talking back" to the Capcom. An early example was this exchange after Mission Control requested that a TV camera be turned on in the capsule:
SCHIRRA: You've added two burns to this flight schedule, and you've added a urine water dump; and we have a new vehicle up here, and I can tell you this point TV will be delayed without any further discussion until after the rendezvous.
CAPCOM: Roger. Copy.
CAPCOM: Apollo 7 This is CAP COM number 1.
CAPCOM: All we've agreed to do on this is flip it.
SCHIRRA: ... with two commanders, Apollo 7
CAPCOM: All we have agreed to on this particular pass is to flip the switch on. No other activity is associated with TV; I think we are still obligated to do that.
SCHIRRA: We do not have the equipment out; we have not had an opportunity to follow setting; we have not eaten at this point. At this point, I have a cold. I refuse to foul up our time lines this way. [citeweb|url=http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/history/mission_trans/AS07_TEC.PDF|title=Apollo 7 Air-to-Ground Voice Transcript. pp.117-118.]
Exchanges such as this would lead to the crew members being passed over for future missions. [citeweb|url=http://www.astronautix.com/flights/apollo7.htm|title=Encyclopedia Astronautica] But the mission successfully proved the space-worthiness of the basic Apollo vehicle.
Goals for the mission included the first live television broadcast from an American spacecraft (
Gordon Cooperhad broadcast slow scan television pictures from Faith 7 in 1963) and testing the lunar moduledocking maneuver.
perigee231 km, apogee297 km, period 89.78 min, inclination 31.63 deg., weight: CSM 14,781 kg.
The splashdown point was 27 deg 32 min N, 64 deg 04 min W, 200 nautical miles (370 km) SSW of Bermuda and 13 km (8 mi) north of the recovery ship USS Essex.
Apollo 7 was the only manned Apollo launch to take place from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Launch Complex 34, as all subsequent Apollo (including Apollo-Soyuz) and Skylab missions were launched from Launch Complex 39 at the nearby
Kennedy Space Center.
As of 2008, Cunningham is the only surviving member of the crew. Eisele died in 1987 and Schirra in 2007.
The insignia for the flight showed a command and service module with its SPS engine firing, the trail from that fire encircling a globe and extending past the edges of the patch symbolizing the Earth-orbital nature of the mission. The Roman numeral VII appears in the South
Pacific Oceanand the crew's names appear on a wide black arc at the bottom.
For nearly 30 years the Apollo 7 module was on loan (renewable every two years) to the
National Museum of Science and Technologyof Canada, in Ottawa, along with the space suit worn by Wally Schirra. In November 2003 the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. requested them back for display at their new annex at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. Currently, the Apollo 7 CM is on loan to the Frontiers of Flight Museum located next to Love Field in Dallas, Texas.
Depiction in fiction
Portions of the Apollo 7 mission are dramatized in the miniseries "From the Earth to the Moon" episode entitled "We Have Cleared the Tower".
* [http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/ NASA NSSDC Master Catalog]
* [http://history.nasa.gov/SP-4029/Apollo_00a_Cover.htm APOLLO BY THE NUMBERS: A Statistical Reference by Richard W. Orloff (NASA)]
* Lattimer, Dick (1985). "All We Did was Fly to the Moon". Whispering Eagle Press. ISBN 0-9611228-0-3.
* Schirra, Wally with Richard Billings (1988). "Schirra's Space". Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-792-9.
* [http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19760072144_1976072144.pdf NASA Apollo 7 Mission Report - Dec. 1, 1968 (PDF format)]
* [http://www.astronautix.com/flights/apollo7.htm Apollo 7 entry in Encyclopedia Astronautica]
* [http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/SP-4009/cover.htm The Apollo Spacecraft: A Chronology]
* [http://history.nasa.gov/apsr/apsr.htm Apollo Program Summary Report]
* [http://www.apollotv.net Apollo 7 Launch] ApolloTV.net Video
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