APOLLO 7 was an October 1968 human spaceflight mission carried out by
the United States. It was the first mission in the United States'
* 1 Crew
* 1.1 Backup crew * 1.2 Support crew
* 2 Background
* 3 Mission highlights
* 3.1 On-orbit operations * 3.2 "Mutiny" in space * 3.3 Reentry and post-flight evaluation
* 4 Mission insignia * 5 Crew honors * 6 Spacecraft location * 7 Depiction in media * 8 Gallery * 9 See also * 10 References * 11 Bibliography * 12 Further reading * 13 External links
COMMANDER Walter M. Schirra Third and last spaceflight
COMMAND MODULE PILOT Donn F. Eisele Only spaceflight
LUNAR MODULE PILOT R. Walter Cunningham Only spaceflight
LUNAR MODULE PILOT was the official title used for the third pilot position in Block II missions, regardless of whether the LM spacecraft was present or not.
COMMANDER Thomas P. Stafford
COMMAND MODULE PILOT John W. Young
LUNAR MODULE PILOT Eugene A. Cernan
The backup crew became the prime crew on Apollo 10 .
Apollo 7's liftoff
Schirra, Eisele, and Cunningham were first named as an Apollo crew on
September 29, 1966. They were to fly a second Earth orbital test of
the original Block I Command/Service module (not designed to dock with
Apollo Lunar Module for lunar flight) after
Plans for the first manned Apollo flights were completely disrupted
by the January 27, 1967 cabin fire which killed Grissom, White, and
Chaffee. Schirra, Eisele, and Cunningham were later named as prime
crew for the first manned flight, which would now use the Block II
spacecraft designed for the lunar missions. The Command Module (CM)
and astronauts' spacesuits had been extensively redesigned, to reduce
and eliminate the chance of a repeat of the accident which killed the
first crew. Schirra thus became the only astronaut to fly Mercury ,
Gemini and Apollo missions. His crew would test the life support,
propulsion, guidance and control systems during this "open-ended"
mission (meaning it would be extended as it passed each test). The
duration was limited to 11 days, reduced from the original 14-day
limit for Apollo 1. Since it flew in low Earth orbit and did not
include the Lunar Module (LM),
Throughout the Mercury and Gemini programs, McDonnell Aircraft engineer Guenter Wendt had been leader of the spacecraft launch pad teams, with ultimate responsibility for condition of the spacecraft at launch. He earned the astronauts' respect and admiration, including Schirra's. However, the spacecraft contractor had changed from McDonnell (Mercury "> Close-up of the S-IVB stage during rendezvous maneuvers. Note the docking target inside the spacecraft adapter, and how the right-hand panel is not fully opened to the same angle as the others
The first manned American space flight in 22 months lifted from LC-34
Following orbital injection and separation from the
S-IVB , the crew
turned the CSM around using its Reaction Control System thrusters, and
Eisele practiced a simulated Lunar Module rendezvous and docking,
using a visual reference target mounted inside the spacecraft adapter
in the same radial position it occupied on the LM. One of the adapter
panels on the
S-IVB failed to completely deploy to its 45 degree open
position, reminding CAPCOM Tom Stafford of his "angry alligator"
Gemini 9A , when docking was prevented by mis-deployed
adapter panels. Had this been an actual lunar mission, the astronauts
might have found the process of LM extraction from the adapter more
difficult, risking possible damage. This reinforced the decision to
add a system to completely separate and jettison the panels on all
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 into and out of lunar orbit, made eight firings, performing within 1% of the engine acceptance test thrust and specific impulse values. As the Saturn IB itself had performed very smoothly during launch, the astronauts were unprepared for the sudden violent jolt they received upon first activating the SPS, leading to Schirra yelling "Yabbadabbadoo!" in reference to The Flintstones cartoon. Don Eisele called it "a real boot in the rear."
An assortment of minor hardware problems occurred over the flight;
these included the drinking water hose trigger sticking during the
final two days, a momentary undervoltage of the main AC buses caused
by the automatic cryo fan switch in the service module LOX and LH2
tanks, and a loss of telemetry due to a malfunctioning electrical
commutator following SM jettison at the end of the mission, meaning
that the final 15 minutes of data transmission were lost. Aside from
the last event, which remained a mystery despite postflight testing of
the commutator, all of the problems on
Apollo promised the best food preparation yet seen on a manned spacecraft. For the first time, astronauts had both hot and cold water to prepare meals with (the food came in freeze-dried vacuum packs that would be injected with water or else eaten dry followed by a sip of water) and Wally Schirra, who had had only toothpaste-like tubes for food on his Mercury flight , described the food as "Still does not match home cooking, but it comes a lot closer than space food used to." Thirty-three meals were provided for the three crewmen, allowing them three meals a day for each of the 11 days in space. Even so, the astronauts complained that there was more food than they could eat and that most of it was too sweet, although the menus had been prepared based on their personal preferences.
Early fears that the movement of the astronauts inside the CM would make it hard for the spacecraft's attitude control system to stabilize it proved unfounded, and they reported that motion was "incredibly easy" with no gravity to work against. As sleeping in the fetal position was cramping and painful, an exercise device called the Exer-Genie was provided.
Another mission goal was the first live television broadcast from an
American spacecraft (
"MUTINY" IN SPACE
Even though Apollo's larger cabin was more comfortable than Gemini's, 11 days in orbit took its toll on the astronauts. Tension with Schirra began with the launch decision, when flight managers decided to launch with a less-than-ideal abort option for the early part of the ascent. Once in orbit, the spacious cabin may have induced some crew motion sickness , which had not been an issue in the earlier, smaller spacecraft. The crew were unhappy with their food selections, especially the high energy sweets. They also found the waste collection system cumbersome (requiring 30 minutes to use) and smelly. But the worst problem occurred when Schirra developed a severe head cold . As a result, he became irritable with requests from Mission Control and all three astronauts 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 spacecraft: Walter Schirra looks out the rendezvous window in front of the commander's station on the ninth day of the mission
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 at this point TV will be delayed without any further
discussion until after the rendezvous.
A further source of tension between Mission Control and the crew was that Schirra repeatedly expressed the view that the reentry should be conducted with their helmets off, contrary to previous Project Mercury and Gemini experience. They perceived a risk that their eardrums might burst due to the sinus pressure from their colds, and they wanted to be able to pinch their noses and blow to equalize the pressure as it increased during reentry. This would have been impossible wearing the helmets, as the new Apollo helmets were a continuous "fishbowl" type without a moveable visor, unlike previous helmets. However, on repeated occasions over the course of the mission, Schirra was instructed that the helmets should be worn for safety reasons. In the final exchange on the subject, Mission Control made it clear to Schirra that he would be expected to account for flouting instructions:
CAPCOM Number 1 (Deke Slayton): Okay. I think you ought to clearly understand that there is absolutely no experience at all with landing without the helmet on. SCHIRRA: And there is no experience with the helmet either on that one. CAPCOM: That one we've got a lot of experience with, yes. SCHIRRA: If we had an open visor, I might go along with that. CAPCOM: Okay. I guess you better be prepared to discuss in some detail when we land why we haven't got them on. I think you're too late now to do much about it. SCHIRRA: That's affirmative. I don't think anybody down there has worn the helmets as much as we have. CAPCOM: Yes. SCHIRRA: We tried them on this morning. CAPCOM: Understand that. The only thing we're concerned about is the landing. We couldn't care less about the reentry. But it's your neck, and I hope you don't break it. SCHIRRA: Thank you, babe. CAPCOM: Over and out.
Exchanges such as this led to Eisele and Cunningham being rejected
for future missions (Schirra had already announced his impending
retirement from NASA). If
REENTRY AND POST-FLIGHT EVALUATION
The splashdown point was 27°32′N 64°04′W / 27.533°N
64.067°W / 27.533; -64.067 , 200 nautical miles (370 km) SSW of
Despite the difficulties between the crew and Mission Control, the
mission successfully met its objectives to verify the Apollo Command
and Service Modules' flight worthiness, allowing Apollo 8's flight to
The insignia for the flight shows 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
After the mission,
Schirra, Eisele, and Cunningham were the only crew, of all the
In January 1969, the
DEPICTION IN MEDIA
On November 6, 1968, comedian
Bob Hope broadcast one of his variety
television specials from NASA's Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston to
A documentary, The Log of Apollo 7, has been restored from 16 mm film and posted online.
The crew during water egress training *
Distant view of the S-IVB stage *
View of Florida from
A crewmember being hoisted into the recovery helicopter *
The crew is welcomed aboard the USS Essex *
Crew after recovery aboard USS Essex
This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration .
* ^ Orloff, Richard W. (September 2004) . "Table of Contents".
Apollo by the Numbers: A Statistical Reference.
* ^ "
* Farmer, Gene; Hamblin, Dora Jane; Armstrong, Neil ; Collins, Michael ; Aldrin, E