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Launch of Apollo 7 (1968) Options
Daemon
Posted: Friday, October 11, 2019 12:00:00 AM
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Launch of Apollo 7 (1968)

In 1961, US President John F. Kennedy committed the US to the goal of landing astronauts on the Moon and bringing them safely back to Earth by the end of the decade. The resulting Apollo program is said to have been the largest scientific and technological undertaking in history. The project's first successful manned mission was Apollo 7, which paved the way for the Moon landing less than a year later. What caused tension between the flight crew and mission control during Apollo 7? More...
KSPavan
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This Day in History
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Launch of Apollo 7 (1968)
In 1961, US President John F. Kennedy committed the US to the goal of landing astronauts on the Moon and bringing them safely back to Earth by the end of the decade. The resulting Apollo program is said to have been the largest scientific and technological undertaking in history. The project's first successful manned mission was Apollo 7, which paved the way for the Moon landing less than a year later.
Adyl Mouhei
Posted: Friday, October 11, 2019 4:55:22 AM

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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.
WeaselADAPT
Posted: Friday, October 11, 2019 4:00:59 PM

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What caused tension between the flight crew and mission control during Apollo 7?

A possible preliminary cause for Crew — Control tensions: Schirra wanted to name the Apollo 7 Command module "Phoenix" (the mythical bird rising from its own ashes) in memory of the late Apollo 1 crew, but NASA management rejected the idea.

Secondarily, Control might not have been fond of Schirra's behind-the-scenes scheming: Throughout the Mercury and Gemini programs, McDonnell Aircraft engineer Guenter Wendt had been leader of the spacecraft launch pad teams, with ultimate responsibility for condition of the spacecraft at launch. He had come to be respected and admired by all the astronauts, including Schirra. But since the Apollo contractor had been changed from McDonnell to North American Rockwell, Wendt had not been pad leader for Apollo 1.

So adamant was Schirra in his desire to have Wendt back as Pad Leader for his Apollo flight, that he got his boss Deke Slayton to persuade North American management to hire Wendt away from McDonnell, and Schirra personally lobbied North American's launch operations manager to change Wendt's shift from midnight to day so he could be pad leader for Apollo 7. So Wendt remained as Pad Leader for the entire Apollo program.

The heart of the tensions were brought on by the length of time in orbit and health issues: Even though Apollo's larger cabin was more comfortable than Gemini's, 11 days in orbit took its toll on the astronauts. Tension with Schirra began with the launch decision, when flight managers decided to launch with a less than ideal abort option for the early part of the ascent. Once in orbit, the spacious cabin may have induced some crew motion sickness, which had not been an issue in the earlier, smaller spacecraft. The crew was unhappy with their food selections, especially the high energy sweets. They also found the waste collection system cumbersome (requiring 30 minutes to use) and smelly. But the worst problem occurred when Schirra developed a severe head cold. As a result, he became irritable with requests from Mission Control and all three astronauts began "talking back" to the CAPCOM.

A further source of tension between Mission Control and the crew was that Schirra repeatedly expressed the view that the reentry should be conducted with their helmets off, contrary to previous Project Mercury and Gemini experience. They 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. This would have been impossible wearing the helmets, as the new Apollo helmets were a continuous "fishbowl" type without a moveable visor, unlike previous helmets. However, on repeat occasions over the course of the mission, Schirra was instructed that the helmets should be worn for safety reasons.

the Weasel
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