18 Facts About Apollo 7


Apollo 77 fulfilled Apollo 71's mission of testing the CSM in low Earth orbit, and was a significant step towards NASA's goal of landing astronauts on the Moon.

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Apollo 7 flew Mercury-Atlas 8 in 1962, the fifth crewed flight of Project Mercury and was the command pilot for Gemini 6A.

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Apollo 7 was a 45-year-old captain in the Navy at the time of Apollo7.

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Apollo 7 elected to be commissioned in the Air Force, and was a 38-year-old major at the time of Apollo7.

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Apollo 7 received degrees in physics from UCLA, a B A in 1960 and an M A in 1961.

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Apollo 7 learned later that Director of Flight Crew Operations Deke Slayton, another of the Mercury Seven who had been grounded for medical reasons and supervised the astronauts, planned, with Schirra's support, to command the mission if he gained medical clearance.

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When this was not forthcoming, Schirra remained in command of the crew, and in November 1966, Apollo 72 was cancelled and Schirra's crew assigned as backup to Grissom's.

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Apollo 7 crew spent five hours in training for every hour they could expect to remain aboard if the mission went its full eleven days.

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Command modules similar to that used on Apollo 77 were subjected to tests in the run-up to the mission.

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Apollo 7 earned the astronauts' respect and admiration, including Schirra's.

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Apollo 7 spacecraft included Command and Service Module 101 the first BlockII CSM to be flown.

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Apollo 7 was the only crewed Apollo mission to launch from Cape Kennedy Air Force Station's Launch Complex 34.

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Apollo 77 was equipped with the old Apollo 71-style crew couches, which provided less protection than later ones.

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Apollo 7 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.

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Apollo 7 presented NASA's highest honor, the Distinguished Service Medal, to recently retired NASA administrator James E Webb, for his "outstanding leadership of America's space program" since the beginning of Apollo.

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Apollo 77 had delivered NASA from its trial by fire—it was the first small step down a path that would lead another crew, nine months later, to the Sea of Tranquility.

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Apollo 7 resigned from the Astronaut Office in 1970 though he remained with NASA at the Langley Research Center in Virginia until 1972, when he was eligible for retirement.

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Apollo 7 mission is dramatized in the 1998 miniseries From the Earth to the Moon episode "We Have Cleared the Tower", with Mark Harmon as Schirra, John Mese as Eisele, Fredric Lehne as Cunningham and Nick Searcy as Slayton.

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