Smithsonian Air and Space Museum

Apollo 7 (AS-205)

First manned test flight of the CSM

Apollo 7 Saturn IB

Apollo 7

Apollo 7 was the only manned Apollo mission launched on a Saturn 1-B rocket and from pad 34 at the Kennedy Space Center. Apollo 7 was the first manned test of the Command and Service Module. The crew orbited the Earth 163 times and spent 10 days and 20 hours in space.

Summary of Events

Apollo 7 was launched from Cape Kennedy, Fla., at 11:02:45 a.m., EST, on October 11, 1968 from launch complex 34 on top of a Saturn IB. The spacecraft crew consisted of commander Walter M. Schirra, Jr., command module pilot Donn F. Eisele, and Walter Cunningham as lunar module pilot. Apollo 7 carried a lunar module pilot, but no lunar module.

Apollo 7 spent more time in space than all the Soviet space flights combined up to that time. The mission featured the first live TV from a manned spacecraft.

Hot meals and relatively complete freedom of motion in the spacecraft enhanced crew comfort over previous Mercury and Gemini flights. The service module service propulsion system (SPS) main engine proved itself by accomplishing the longest and shortest manned SPS burns and the largest number of inflight restarts. The SPS engine was the largest thrust engine to be manually thrust vector-controlled.

As part of the effort to alleviate fire hazard prior to liftoff and during initial flight, the command module cabin atmosphere was composed of 60% oxygen and 40% nitrogen. During this period the crew was isolated from the cabin by the suit circuit, which contained 100% oxygen. Shortly after liftoff, the cabin atmosphere was gradually enriched to pure oxygen at a pressure of 5 pounds per square inch.

Some significant spacecraft changes from Block I included the addition of a fire extinguisher and emergency oxygen masks, an onboard TV camera, and S-band equipment.

From Apollo Program Flight Summary Report, Apollo Missions AS-201 through Apollo 16.