Human Spaceflights

International Flight No. 24

Apollo 7

USA

USA

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hi res version (598 KB)

Launch, orbit and landing data

Launch date:  11.10.1968
Launch time:  15:02 UTC
Launch site:  Cape Canaveral (KSC)
Launch pad:  34
Altitude:  231 - 297 km
Inclination:  31.63°
Landing date:  22.10.1968
Landing time:  11:11 UTC
Landing site:  27° 32' N, 64° 4' W

walkout photo

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alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo

Crew

No.   Surname Given names Position Flight No. Duration Orbits
1  Schirra  Walter Marty, Jr. "Wally"  CDR 3  10d 20h 08m  163 
2  Eisele  Donn Fulton  CMP 1  10d 20h 08m  163 
3  Cunningham  Ronnie Walter  LMP 1  10d 20h 08m  163 

Crew seating arrangement

1  Schirra
2  Eisele
3  Cunningham

Backup Crew

No.   Surname Given names Position
1  Stafford  Thomas Patten "Tom"  CDR
2  Young  John Watts  CMP
3  Cernan  Eugene Andrew "Gene"  LMP

alternate crew photo

Support Crew

  Surname Given names
 Swigert  John Leonard, Jr. "Jack"
 Evans  Ronald Ellwin, Jr. "Ron"
 Pogue  William Reid

Flight

Launch from Cape Canaveral; landing southeast of Bermuda Islands in the Atlantic Ocean. Apollo 7 was the only manned Apollo launch to take place from Cape Kennedy Air Force Station's Launch Complex 34. All subsequent Apollo and Skylab missions (including Apollo-Soyuz) were launched from Launch Complex 39 at the nearby Kennedy Space Center, and Launch Complex 34 was retired.

Apollo 7 marked the first NASA mission after the Apollo 1 launch pad fire. It was also the first crew of three American astronauts. The mission was a testflight of the modificated Apollo spacecraft. The crew performed rendezvous exercises with the upper stage of the Saturn 1-B launch vehicle and provided the first TV pictures from a U.S. spacecraft.

All three astronauts developed a bad cold. Additionally one of the three fuel cells supplying electricity to the craft developed some unwanted high temperatures and the coolant lines sweated and water collected in little puddles on the deck. The crew vacuumed the excess water out into space with the urine dump hose. Looking through the five capsule windows therefore was not good at the beginning of the mission; two of the windows had soot deposits and two others had water condensation, but a few days later the windows were adequate. So the crew could perform observations and navigational sightings with a telescope and a sextant.

The bad cold of the astronauts caught another problem. Mucus accumulates, filling the nasal passages, and does not drain from the head. The only relief is to blow hard, which is painful to the ear drums. So the crewmen of Apollo 7 whirled through space suffering from stopped up ears and noses. Aspirin and decongestant tablets helped during the mission. The next problem was indeed the landing, the crew began to worry about wearing their suit helmets during reentry, which would prevent them from blowing their noses. The buildup of pressure might burst their eardrums, several discussions followed and especially Commander Walter Schirra was adamant. At least, mission control “won” and the astronauts each took a decongestant pill about an hour before reentry and made it through the acceleration zone without any problems with their ears.

The most serious problem during reentry was the overheating of fuel cells, which might have failed when the spacecraft was too far from Earth to return on batteries, even if fully charged. But each anomaly was satisfactorily checked out before the next mission.

The crew was recovered by the USS Essex.

Photos / Drawings

 

more Earth observation photos


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Last update on November 28, 2014.