The Western Lines

October 11, 2008

The Flight of Apollo 7

Filed under: Alex Michael Bonnici,Apollo 7,Apollo Command Module — ralphbuttigieg @ 2:46 pm
Today marks the fortieth anniversary of the first manned mission of the Apollo program that was to lead to humanity’s first steps on the Moon.

Apollo 7 was an eleven-day Earth-orbital mission and the first manned launch of the Saturn IB launch vehicle, and the first three-man American space mission. The crew of that consisted of mission commander veteran astronaut Walter M. Schirra, one of the original Mercury Seven astronauts and rookie astronauts Donn F. Eisele Command Module Pilot and R. Walter Cunningham Lunar Module Pilot

This crew was originally the backup crew of the ill-fated Apollo 1.

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 IB booster rather than the much larger and more powerful Saturn V. Schirra wanted to give Apollo 7 the call sign “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.

In order to commemorate the inaugural mission of the Apollo program and to commemorate the memories of the crew of Apollo 1 (Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, Ed White and Roger B. Chaffee) we at Discovery Enterprise would like to present for your viewing pleasure the following episode of the Discovery Channel’s land mark series Moon Machines

Moon Machines – Command Module


1 Comment »

  1. I recently interviewed Walt cunningham, the last surviving crew member of Apollo 7 – the interview’s on my blog at

    Comment by Mark Shanahan — October 12, 2008 @ 10:23 pm | Reply

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