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Picture of Apollo 7 spacecraft
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Apollo 7

The Apollo 7 mission was launched on Oct. 11, 1968, carrying astronauts Donn Eisele, Walter Cunningham, and Walter Schirra, Jr., who had already flown on the Mercury and Gemini missions. It used a Saturn IB booster instead of the more powerful Saturn V, used for Apollo 11, which had not yet been extensively tested. It successfully accomplished all its objectives, giving NASA and the Apollo space program much confidence following the Apollo 1 disaster.

Apollo 7 spent eleven days making 163 orbits around Earth, proving that its command module would last long enough to make a trip to the Moon possible. The astronauts enjoyed its large cabin, compared to the cramped quarters of the Gemini spacecraft, but complained about the food and all caught colds. In space, a cold's symptoms are more severe because the mucus does not drain as easily from your head.

Apollo 7 also returned the first live television pictures from space. It earned public and government support for a mission to the Moon, accomplished by the Apollo 8 mission, only months later.


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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF