Launch of the first generation of the Saturn rockets. Apollo 7 launch.
Montage of Apollo VII mission footage.
Apollo 7 was the first manned mission in the Apollo programme to be launched. It was an eleven-day Earth-orbital mission, the first manned launch of the Saturn IB launch vehicle, and the first three-man American space mission.
After the January 1967 Apollo launch pad fire, the Apollo command module had been extensively redesigned. Schirra, who would be the only astronaut to fly Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions, commanded this Earth-orbital shakedown of the command and service modules. Since it was not carrying a lunar module, Apollo 7 could be launched with the Saturn IB booster rather than the much larger and more powerful Saturn V. Schirra wanted to give Apollo 7 the callsign "Phoenix" (the mythical bird rising from its own ashes) in memory to the loss of the Apollo 1 crew, but NASA management were against the idea.
The Apollo hardware and all mission operations worked without any significant problems, and the Service Propulsion System (SPS), the all-important engine that would place Apollo in and out of lunar orbit, made eight nearly perfect firings.
Goals for the mission included the first live television broadcast from an American spacecraft (Gordon Cooper had broadcast slow scan television pictures from Faith 7 in 1963) and testing the lunar module docking manoeuver.