Apollo 7 Blasted Off From Cape Kennedy 46 Years Ago Today

By  //  October 11, 2014

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ABOVE VIDEO: This film footage records life and work on the first manned flight of the Apollo series. Apollo 7 was designated to make the essential test of the Apollo spacecraft before the ambitious lunar-orbital mission could be attempted. All systems respond perfectly. The first television from space highlights the film.

Final Manned Launch From Cape Kennedy Air Force Station On Oct. 11, 1968

Apollo 7 was a 1968 human spaceflight mission and was the first mission in the United States’ Apollo program to carry a crew into space.

Astronauts of the Apollo 7 crew are shown at Cape Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on launch day, Oct. 11, 1968. From left to right are R. Walter Cunningham, Commander Walter Schirra, Jr., and Donn F. Eisele. Their orbital flight was the first manned launch of the Apollo spacecraft. (NASA image)

Astronauts of the Apollo 7 crew are shown at Cape Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on launch day, Oct. 11, 1968. From left to right are R. Walter Cunningham, Commander Walter Schirra, Jr., and Donn F. Eisele. Their orbital flight was the first manned launch of the Apollo spacecraft. (NASA image)

It was also the first American space flight to carry astronauts into low Earth orbit after a cabin fire killed the Apollo 1 crew in 1967. Apollo 1, also known as AS-204, originally was to be the first flight.

Instead, Apollo 7 carried out the mission that Apollo 1 was scheduled to do. The crew was commanded by Walter M. Schirra, with Command Module Pilot Donn F. Eisele, and Lunar Module Pilot R. Walter Cunningham.

It was a ‘C’ type mission—an 11-day Earth-orbital test flight, using the first Saturn IB launch vehicle to put a crew into space, test and checkout of the redesigned Block II Apollo Command/Service Module (CSM) with a crew on board, the first live TV broadcast from an American spacecraft, and the first three-person American space mission.

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It was successfully launched on October 11, 1968, from what was then known as Cape Kennedy Air Force Station, Florida. Despite tension between the crew and ground controllers, the mission was a complete technical success, giving NASA the confidence to launch Apollo 8 around the Moon two months later.

However, the flight would prove to be the last NASA space flight for all of its three crew members when it splashed down in Atlantic Ocean on October 22, 1968.

It was also the final manned launch from Cape Kennedy Air Force Station.


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