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1st Manned Apollo Mission
Apollo 7 Crew
The Apollo 7 Crew
Walter Cunningham (L)
Walter M. Schirra, Jr. (C)
and Donn F. Eisele (R)

Apollo 7, the first manned Apollo launch, was an Earth-orbital mission whose purpose was to check out all the systems before a lunar mission could be attempted.

The big test objective was a demonstration of long-duration reliability to simulate a lunar mission that would consist of a 7 to 9 day flight.

Prior to the launch of Apollo 7, all tests of the Apollo modules had been unmanned and lasting less than one day.

The flight was crewed by Walter "Wally" Schirra, Walter Cunningham, and Donn Eisele who also served as backup crew for Apollo 1.

Apollo 7 was launched at 11:03 am EDT on October 11, 1968, from Launch Complex 34, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. After 1.5 orbits, the CSM separated from the S-IVB and the crew maneuvered the rockets to turn the CSM around and approach the S-IVB for a successful simulated docking practice. During the mission, the crew photographed many scenes of the earth such as Hurricane Gladys as it churned through the Gulf of Mexico.

After entering the earth's atmosphere the automatic landing system went into action, opening a pair of small drogue parachutes to stabilize the command module. Then the three main chutes opened to slow the command module to splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean at 7:11 AM EDT on October 22, 1968. Pararescuemen attached the flotation collar to Apollo 7 after splashdown and the crew was taken to the U.S.S. Essex.

Apollo 7 performed according to plan during the 11-day mission, causing NASA officials to report a "101% successful" mission".


APOLLO 7 images in the Photo Gallery

Visit Wally Schirra's website - Apollo 7
 
 
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