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Apollo 7

"From the Lovely Apollo Room,  High Atop Everything." This photograph shows astronaut Walt Cunningham at work on orbit during Apollo 7.  Astronaut Cunningham personally autographed this photo for me.  Photo Credit: NASA
                          Walt Cunningham At Work During Apollo 7The fire, which took the lives of Grissom, White, and Chaffee was a huge wake up call for NASA.  An investigation was launched into the cause of the accident.  A major review of NASA management and procedures was conducted.

The Apollo spacecraft was redesigned.  No longer would pure oxygen be used while the capsule was on the ground.  Anything flammable was removed from the spacecraft.  NASA management was shifted and in some cases removed.

On April 23, 1967, after a long absence, the Soviet Union would take its next step in the race for the Moon.  A new spacecraft called Soyuz was launched with veteran cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov on board.

The Soyuz was a remarkable advancement beyond the simple Vostok and Voskhod spacecraft.  Soon after reaching orbit, Komarov experienced a multitude of system failures. At one point Komarov radioed, "Devil machine ... nothing I lay my hands on works!"

Ground controllers told Komarov to try and get some sleep.  He would be orbiting out of contact with ground control for the next 9 hours.

During this time the  attitude stabilization system failed.  It was vital that the spacecraft be kept in the proper alignment for reentry.  Without the proper alignment the spacecraft and Komarov would not survive.

Realizing how desperate Komarov's situation was, the ground controllers brought in Soviet Premier Aleksei Kosygin to speak personally to Komarov.  Komarov's wife Valentina was also brought in to talk with her husband.

Komarov struggled to get the Soyuz aligned properly for reentry and on the 18th orbit he was finally able to do so.  He had to put the vehicle into a spinning motion to maintain the correct alignment. The spacecraft survived reentry into the Earth's atmosphere, but due to the imprecise reentry attitude the parachute recovery system became damaged from intense heat.

After multiple attempts, Komarov was able to get the drogue parachute deployed but the main parachute did not.  Finally, Komarov was able to deploy the back up parachute.  Unfortunately it became entangled with the drogue chute.

With no functional parachutes to slow it down, Soyuz 1 with Komarov on board plummeted to Earth near a town called Orenburg, Russia.  It is estimated that when Soyuz 1 struck the ground it was traveling at a speed of around 400 miles per hour.

The reentry rockets on the Soyuz exploded upon impact and Komarov was killed instantly. Only three months after the United States had experienced a horrible space program tragedy, the Soviet Union now also had one to deal with.  Both programs would incur long delays.

Twenty one months would elapse after the Apollo 1 fire before NASA was ready to send another  crew into the perils of space.  The designation for this mission would be Apollo 7. Several unmanned Apollo missions would precede it.

Walter Marty Schirra, Jr. was chosen to be the Commander for Apollo 7.  Schirra was a veteran astronaut having flown before in both Mercury and Gemini spacecraft.  He would be the only astronaut ever to fly in Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo.

Joining Schirra on Apollo 7 would be Command Module Pilot Donn Fulton Eisele.  Eisele was a rookie astronaut without spaceflight experience.

Completing the Apollo 7 crew as Lunar Module Pilot was Ronnie Walter (Walt) Cunningham.  Like Eisele, Cunningham was a rookie.  Even though there was no Lunar Module on the Apollo 7 mission, a crew member was still designated as the Lunar Module Pilot.

The rocket used to launch Apollo 7 was a Saturn IB.  This Saturn was constructed with  two rocket stages.  The Saturn 1B  would not be the type of rocket that would propel later missions to the Moon.  The primary mission objective of Apollo 7 was to test out the Apollo command and service module in low Earth orbit. 

Apollo 7 was launched from Launch Complex 34 at the Kennedy Space Center on October 11, 1968.  At the moment of liftoff, an unidentified Apollo 7 crewmember announced, "Lift-off, and clocks running."  The Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM) responded, "Roger. Godspeed, Apollo 7."

At 11 seconds, Commander Schirra reported "Roll commence."  This confirmed that the vehicle was performing its planned roll maneuver. At 44 seconds, Schirra reported, "She's running - it's getting a little noisy now."

At 1 minute, 18 seconds into the flight, the launch vehicle experienced max q.  That is the region of the flight where maximum aerodynamic pressure is exerted upon the vehicle.  At 2 minutes and 1 second, CAPCOM informed the crew, "Apollo 7, you are GO for staging." 
Schirra responded, "Roger. we're GO."

At 2 minutes, 20 seconds into the flight inboard engine cutoff on the first stage S-IB proceeded according to flight plan.   Approximately 4 seconds later outboard engine cutoff was achieved in preparation for staging.  The S-IB stage separated from the launch vehicle at 2 minutes and 25.6 seconds.  The J2 engine of the second stage (S-IVB) ignited at 2 minutes 27 seconds into the flight.

The escape tower was jettisoned at 2 minutes 46 seconds.  Communication became somewhat sporadic.  At 3 minutes, 21 seconds, Schirra reported, "Tower jettisoned beautifully, did you get that?"  CAPCOM Swigert responded, "Yes we didn't get that, but we got GO."

At 5 minutes and 51 seconds after launch CAPCOM radioed to the Apollo 7 crew, "You're looking real fine, Apollo 7."  Schirra responded, "Roger, she's riding like a dream. 6 minutes, and we're really going."  Command Module Pilot Eisele added, "This center window view is sensational."

The S-IVB J2 engine cutoff at 10 minutes 16 seconds into the flight.  Reporting the engine shutoff, Commander Schirra exclaimed, "SECO!" At 10 minutes and 26 seconds, Apollo 7 was in orbit.  Schirra asked his crew mates about the ride, "How do like that ..."  Eisele responded, "Man, it felt like something shooting me clean off the seat."

At 24 minutes and 23 seconds, Schirra told his crewmates, "Guys, we had a good second stage for a few seconds after the count and reached 2 g before SECO.  If we got information by the way on Mode 4 I didn't hear it, did anyone else copy?"  Cunningham responded, "I didn't hear it either, and in spite of the g-load, I had no trouble reaching all the switches and operating the time-code meter throughout."  Schirra continued, "Just after the last part, after 2 minutes, it started to read about 4 g."

At 29 minutes, 21 seconds Eisele told his crewmates, "Hey, I've found a good place for the pens, gang."  Cunningham asked, "For the what?"  Eisele clarified, "Pen, like this, see?" Cunningham responded,
"Oh, that's real cute.  That should take care of all of our pencil jazz."

Early in the flight, rookies Cunningham and Eisele were marveling at their initial impressions of Earth orbit.  At 37 minutes and 35 seconds, Cunningham asked the veteran Schirra, "Do you ever get the impression that we're deorbiting?"  Schirra responded, "Oh man, wait  'til you see us pointing straight down sometime. You feel like you're doing a split S.  You know, I did that one time and I wanted to pull out."

At 59 minutes and 56 seconds, Schirra reported, "Okay, Jack, Donn is taking off his suit now; Walt's and mine are still on.  We get an O2 FLOW HI when Donn opens up the suit, and we analyze that as the suit rate trying to catch up to the cabin, so we are GO."

At 1 hour, 11 minutes, and 20 seconds, Schirra told his crewmates, "Look at the sunrise, gang.  There you go.  That's the thrill of this business.  See it, Walt?"  Cunningham responded that he did.  Schirra continued, "Hey, look at the clouds Walt."  Cunningham exclaimed, "Look at those thunderheads!"  Schirra added, "Yes, aren't they great?"  Cunningham added, "Lord - Those are some big ones aren't they?"

At 1 hour, 12 minutes, and 0 seconds, Schirra commented to his crewmates, "Hey, I tell you - I think you - that Gunnar Went."  This was in reference to a comment that was made about Pad Leader Guenter Wendt when he left the white room, while the crew was waiting inside their capsule prior to liftoff.

Cunningham responded, "Hey, why are you laughing - didn't it have to happen before?"  Eisele answered, "I have never heard it - I just about busted a gut (laughter).  It's such an obvious pun, I guess planning is the thing -- Well he said, 'It looks like Gunnar's going' and you said, 'Yes, I think Gunnar Went.'"  Schirra overcome with laughter pleaded for them to stop, "Listen, you're breaking my heart."

At 2 hours, 55 minutes, and 2 seconds, the Command Service Module was separated from the spent S-IVB stage.  At 2 hours, 55 minutes, and 8 seconds, Schirra asked Mission Control, "Did you hear that on the ground?"  CAPCOM Tom Stafford responded, "No.  You're saying that was loud, right?"  Schirra answered, "Loudest sound heard around the world."

The crew observed the S-IVB that they had separated from.  The four SLA adapter panels that had connected the Command Service Module were now splayed like the petals of a flower. CAPCOM Stafford made a reference to a visual from his Gemini 9 flight.  He radioed, "Looks like you're looking down on a 4 jawed angry alligator."  Schirra reported, "It's a bigger one, Tom."

The first test of the Service Propulsion System (SPS) engine was initiated at 1 day, 2 hours, 24 minutes and 25 seconds into the flight.  The burn lasted for 10 seconds.

At 1 day, 4 hours, 0 minutes, 56 seconds a second burn of the SPS engine was initiated. This burn lasted for 7.8 seconds.

At 2 days, 23 hours, 42 minutes, and 14 seconds LMP Cunningham radioed Mission Control, "At what time do you want the TV turned on?"  CAPCOM Stafford replied, "Standby.  Roger, we're ready for TV now, turn it on."
  The Apollo 7 crew provided views of the inside of the spacecraft with the first live in-flight television broadcasts.

Cunningham was manning the camera while Schirra and Eisele held up a fireproof cue card with a message.  CAPCOM Stafford radioed, "Donn, turn your head to the right.  There you go.  Hey we're picking up - I can read it, just a minute.  It says, 'From that Lovely Apollo"' - you guys should right - 'High Atop Something.'  I can see Wally handle it now. 'From the Lovely Apollo Room, High Atop Everything.'"

Stafford then instructed Eisele,
"Lean back a little bit, you're too close to the camera - there you are.  We'll have Cecil B. de Stafford directing down here."

Schirra then held up a different fireproof cue card with a message.  CAPCOM Stafford radioed, "A little closer Wally.  It says, 'Keep Those Cards Coming - Keep Those Cards and Letters Coming Folks.'  It's loud and clear."  Schirra radioed, "Yes sir, a funny show for the entire family."

At 2 days, 23 hours 51 minutes, and 56 seconds CAPCOM Stafford radioed, "And again, I can't tell you how good the - that TV picture looked down here inside the spacecraft; just beautiful."  Eisele answered, "That's amazing."  Schirra added, "Roger, we have some more cue cards for later."

Schirra wasn't quite as jovial about the television broadcast  when he logged some notes  with the onboard voice recorder while they were out of radio contact.  At 3 days, 0 hours, 33 minutes, and 48 seconds, Schirra noted, "In retrospect, my decision not to use the television camera prior to the first SPS burn was sound.  We had too much to do to get the television camera ready.  There was too much attention paid to the results of the television camera rather than anything else, as was typical in this pass."

He continued, "I believe that the television should be left as the last low-priority test objective in relation to any other event that might occur simultaneously.  Typically, with a television camera on board, the crew reacted to it, and we fortunately had no problems occur, but we were paying way too much attention to the TV camera and not the spacecraft. 

It was obvious that the television broadcasts were not part of the mission plan that Schirra supported. He finished the log with,
"This is why I object to a TV camera in the first place.  A candid-camera syndrome is a very awkward one to have in a spacecraft."

At 3 days, 10 hours, 12 minutes, and 58 seconds, Cunningham radioed, "And have the doctors done any talking down there about the possibility of one or all of us having a cold and stopped up ears on reentry?"  CAPCOM replied, "Roger.  They've been thinking about it and will advise."

Cunningham continued, "Okay.  We've got something on board here in a medical kit  called antibiotic.  I was just wondering if we ought to be taking it or what?  So far, Wally's, I guess, holding his own on his ears.  Donn may be getting a little bit worse, and I think my ears are still clearing up fairly well."

Early in the flight, the crew developed head colds and it affected their demeanor.  Commander Schirra was particularly grumpy in communications with ground controllers.  Perhaps his attitude was still affected by the loss of his three comrades in the Apollo 1 fire.

At 3 days, 18 hours, 39 minutes and 41 seconds, Schirra radioed to Mission Control, "I suggest for somebody for tomorrow get to work on the sleep plan.  You've cut us out of an hours sleep already."  CAPCOM responded, "Roger."  Schirra continued, "We all three have our colds.  I asked for an hour and a half of sleep for each of us last night and apparently that was ignored."

At 3 days, 22 hours, 33 minutes, and 34 seconds, CAPCOM informed the crew, "Hey, it looks like your cards and letters are coming in here real strong over the past 24 hours, and your TV ratings on the Monday morning show are pretty high."

A short while later CAPCOM radioed, "Sounds like you guys are riding in a real Cadillac up there.  Things have been going real good from where we sit."  Schirra responded, "We've had some traumatic experiences with that AC 1 and AC bus 2 slipping out.  Water all over the place, but it looks to be in good shape if nothing goes wrong."

The new spaceship was testing out very well although there were some issues.  One issue in particular that Schirra referenced was a water leak in some cooling lines.  At one point in the mission Cunningham  soaked up over a pint of loose water from the rear bulkhead.

At 3 days 22 hours, 52 minutes, and 1 second, Cunningham reported, "I had to use that gray tape ... and tape that BIOMED lead together that kept coming apart.  I also used it to tape the microphone together and the lightweight head set, which started coming apart.  The gray tape is pretty good gear."

A second television broadcast was scheduled and at 3 days 23 hours, 26 minutes, and 51 seconds, CAPCOM Swigert radioed, "Look like, 'From the Lovely Apollo Room, High Atop Everything.'" This time Eisele was manning the camera.

CMP Eisele radioed, "That's right.  Coming to you live from outer space, the one and only original Apollo orbiting road show, starring those great acrobats of outer space, Wally Schirra and Walt Cunningham."

Schirra held up another fireproof cue card.  CAPCOM radioed, "Just a minute, Wally.  Let's see.  Oh, it's a little message to Deke Slayton.  A little bit closer Wally.  Kind of looks like something about - 'Are you a, are you a --"  Schirra acknowledged, "That's right."  CAPCOM continued, "Looks like it says, 'Are you a turtle, Deke Slayton?"

Schirra confirmed, "That's right."  Eisele added, "You get an A for reading today Jack."  Swigert continued, "Here comes another one.  Walt, oh, that-a-way, that's the way to turn it. It says, 'Paul Haney, are you a turtle?'"  Cunningham radioed, "You'll get a gold star. Perfect score!"  Swigert reported, "And there is no reply from Paul Haney there."  Cunningham asked, "You mean he's speechless?"

A short while later, CAPCOM Cernan informed Schirra, "Wally, this is Gene.  Deke just called in, and we've got your answer, and we've got it recorded for you return."  Schirra acknowledged, "Roger. Real fine."

Shortly there after, Schirra asked CAPCOM Swigert, "Have you got Haney's answer yet?"  Swigert replied, "No, Haney's isn't talking, Wally."  Swigert then added, "Somebody tells me he isn't talking, but just buying."  A pleased Schirra responded, "He is buying.  Thank you very much.  Very good."

This exchange about turtles was a
reference to the notorious Turtle's Club drinking club of which Wally Schirra held the title of a Grand Potentate. During Schirra's Mercury flight Deke Slayton had radioed up to Schirra asking Schirra if he was a turtle.

The proper response for a member of the Turtle's Club to give when challenged by another Turtle member could be misconstrued if taken out of context.  The expectation is that every Turtle has in their possession a donkey.  So the proper Turtle response is, "You bet your sweet ass I am."  If a Turtle member fails to give the appropriate response, then they owe a drink to everyone within listening distance.

Referencing Slayton's challenge to Schirra during Schirra's Mercury flight, Wally radioed, "Remind Deke it took six years to get that question back to him." 

The antics by Schirra during this second television broadcast were in stark contrast with what his real feelings were towards these flight plan required broadcasts.

At 4 days, 0 hours, 26 minutes, and 49 seconds, Schirra reported, "We're going through a meal now and probably have a gripe.  The cracker-type food, the chicken sandwiches: they are all crumbly, and we have a lot of problems with crumbs all over the cockpit.  We have been rejecting a lot of this."

At 4 days, 1 hour, 0 minutes, and 42 seconds, CAPCOM Swigert informed Schirra, "Wally, this test here has the telescope sunlight of sight at 70 degrees, which is the worst case, and we would kind of like to get that one in." 

A miffed Schirra replied, "That's what I've been trying to tell you.  With the best case, we didn't do any good.  If you want us to do the test, all right; we will do it, but we are kind of tired arguing with people who tell us to do this.  I'm not talking about you, but the various things you don't know about telescopes."

At 4 days, 1 hour, 9 minutes, and 48 seconds, Schirra reported, "Jack, I would recommend to the next crew that they try to eliminate as much bite-sized food; that's bothering all of us already."  Schirra added, "However, the breakfast drink is going over very well, but we need a different type of food."

At 4 days, 1 hour, 24 minutes, and 59 seconds, Schirra reported his physical condition,
"This is CDR.  I still have a rather thick mucous nose cold, but none of us are coughing.  We're very well rested although last night was a rather short night; and we'll take advantage of longer hours to catch up again.  We've all had plenty to eat and drink, if not too much.  The sight of food is just too rich for us.  I'm still on aspirin and I'm off Actifed at this time,  and all of us are getting out of Actifed.  We don't have enough left to keep taking it for the length of the mission.  We'll use it prior to reentry."

Next Eisele reported his physical condition,
"This is the CMP.  My only complaint is a head cold, just like Wally.  I find that my ears plug up now and then.  I would take the Actifed except for running out and I want to save it for reentry in case we need it then.  Other than that, I'm in good shape.  I've had plenty to eat and drink, had plenty of sleep.  No problems."

Cunningham then reported his status, "Okay.  I'm in good shape.  I've been sleeping a little better every night, and my ears are just barely clear some mornings and sometimes not.  I don't feel bad; I don't feel like I have a cold.  I just feel like I'm pretty stuffed up and on the verge of getting one."

At 4 days, 3 hours, 2 minutes, and 27 seconds LMP Cunningham asked CAPCOM Jack Swigert, "Roger, Jack.  Did the doctors ever say anything about using this antibiotic as a preventative medicine up here?"  Swigert responded, "Stand by.  Okay, Walt, on that question, there is not  any need to use any of the antibiotics.  They don't feel that would help or cure a cold."

It was time for a third live television broadcast from space. At 4 days, 23 hours, 9 minutes, and 5 seconds, CAPCOM Swigert radioed,
"We're receiving the picture; it's a little bright. Could you bring it in a  little?  From The Lovely Apollo Room High Atop Everything."

CDR Schirra commented, "Roger.  This is your captain speaking on this flight, and you can unfasten your seat belts and relax, and we hope to make this flight enjoyable for you."  Cunningham gave a demonstration of eating food for the television audience."  A tour was given of Schirra's instrument console and a view of some of the leaky plumbing was provided.

Shortly after the television broadcast, It was time for another burn of the Service Propulsion System engine.  This burn lasted for approximately 10 seconds.

At 5 days, 3 hours, 12 minutes, and 2 seconds, Cunningham had another comment to make about the quality of the food,
"Hey, Jack.  This is Walt.  I got a comment on this food that you might pass to Frank and his guys.  This high-caloried stuff where they've got everything hiked with calories, is just getting to us something fierce.  In order to get a lot of calories in small weight, everything is hiked up and it's all got a sweet taste, and something you think tasted real good to you, by the time you get to the end of the bag of it, you really can't look at it - look it in the eye very well."

It was time for another television broadcast.  At 5 days, 21 hours, 13 minutes, and 19 seconds, CAPCOM radioed,
"We've got a good picture now Walt."  A video tour was given of the Command Module windows.  The tour continued with the sleeping areas under the couches and showed Eisele getting ready for his sleep shift.

Schirra was still not happy with what the television broadcasts were doing to the mission timeline of other activities that were required by the crew.  At 6 days 4 hours 12 minutes, and 50 seconds, Schirra radioed, "We thought today was very busy, and tomorrow we have the big burn - burn 5.  We'd like to consider deleting the TV pass tomorrow."  CAPCOM Swigert responded, "Roger, We copy that.  We are digesting that, Wally."

At 6 days, 6 hours, 8 minutes, and 38 seconds, CAPCOM Ron Evans informed Schirra of the decision made about the television broadcast.  Evans radioed,
"We concur on negative TV tomorrow."

At 6 days, 15 hours, 3 minutes and 10 seconds, CMP Eisele reported, "I've got two sleeping beauties and a sound ship."  The Apollo 7 crew was split into two sleep shifts so that someone would be always be awake to constantly monitor the spacecraft systems.  Schirra and Cunningham were on one shift, while Eisele was on a shift by himself.

At 6 days, 19 hours, 28 minutes, and 17 seconds, Schirra was awake and greeted CAPCOM Bill Pogue,
"Good Morning, Bill."  Pogue responded, "Good Morning Wally.  How's everything?"  Schirra responded, "Very good.  Haven't heard you in a while."

Cunningham added, "Understand you're a big TV fan of ours."  Pogue replied, "That's right, I've been running home after work, just in time to watch."  Schirra radioed, "Thought today we were going to try for an Emmy for best weekly series."  Pogue replied, "I thought you were going to try for a Hammy."

At 6 days 20 hours 59 minutes and 55 seconds, CAPCOM Pogue counted down the time until ignition for the fifth burn of the SPS engine, "5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Ignition"  Schirra replied, "Starting."  Cunningham added, "4 balls out."  Schirra exclaimed, "Yabadabado!"

The crew had difficulty reading the instruments on the control panel because sunlight streaming in from a window made some of the displays impossible to read.  They had to guess when to cutoff the engine and exceeded the planned velocity.  Schirra was not pleased and radioed, "That's your big mistake in changing the rules real time.  First off, we couldn't see the Delta-V counter."

CAPCOM Pogue responded, "Roger.  We read that; I think that the situation is rather obvious now."   A gruff Schirra responded, "Okay. Then let's learn a big lesson from that."

Water leaks from the plumbing continued to plague the crew and they often had to soak up the excess water.  At one point after the burn a pint had accumulated on the rear bulkhead.

At 7 days, 4 hours, 50 minutes, and 14 seconds, an irritated LMP Cunningham responded to a procedure requested by Mission Control, "Okay, I just might do it, but go on the record here as saying, people that dream up procedures like this after you liftoff, have somehow or other been dropping the ball for the last three years if they have a procedure where you can reservice.  And this is kind of Mickey Mouse, but I'll do it if I have to.  I've got the secondary step repeated for 40 cycles if necessary."

At 7 days, 7 hours, 40 minutes, and 38 seconds, Eisele inquired, "Hey, Ron, you got any hot news for us."  CAPCOM Evans replied, "Roger, the paper says your SPS burn was the mightiest maneuver ever made by a manned spacecraft."

Schirra and the doctors on the ground were concerned that because of the congestion from their head colds the crew might break their eardrums if they were unable to relieve the pressure by clearing their ears.

Mission control wanted the astronauts to wear their pressure helmets and spacesuits during reentry.  On reason for that was a precaution in case the command module should loose pressurization. Another concern was that crewmembers would not be restrained properly without the bulky suits in place on the couches.

At 7 days, 16 hours, 23 minutes and 58 seconds, Commander Schirra informed CAPCOM Bill Anders, "We are very worried about our ears.  They are all blocked up with these colds.  We're having a time to get one to clear, and we are seriously considering entering shirt-sleeve.  I'm afraid that we can't quite clear our ears on the way down, but if we do have to clear them on the way down we'll have to take the helmets off.  And then they become a hazard bouncing around the cockpit.  We feel the risk of rupturing our ear drums is higher than the risk of injury without having our suits on.  We realize the restraint harness won't fit us closely, and we are considering we can wear our life vest over our shirt-sleeve clothing."

CAPCOM Anders responded, "Roger.  I think we understand what you are saying there, and there has been considerable ground discussion regarding that." This discussion was brought up several more times before the end of the mission.

At 7 days, 21 hours, 3 minutes, and 58 seconds it was time for another television broadcast.  Command Schirra began the broadcast by joking, "Good morning Houston; you are looking down the couches.  The crew is out just now for a coffee break.  I think you will find that without the crew here, there is nothing to fear - nothing to fear.  This is a taped message."

At 8 days, 18 hours, and 5 minutes into the flight the crew prepared for another burn of the SPS engine.  At 18 hours, 7 minutes, and 50 seconds, CAPCOM counted down towards ignition of the engine, "Ten, five, four, three, two, one. Ignition."  At 8 days, 18, hours 8 minutes and 21 seconds, Lunar Module Pilot Cunningham reported, "Roger. Burn complete Delta-V thrust A and B off."

At 10 days, 19 hours, 43 minutes, and 33 seconds, the Command Module separated from the Service Module in preparation for reentry.  Entry interface with the Earth's atmosphere occurred at 10 days, 19 hours, 53 minutes, and 27 seconds.  400,000 feet is the the altitude that is considered entry interface.

Apollo 7 entered a communication blackout at 10 days 19 hours, 54 minutes and 58 seconds.  This blackout is caused by the ionization cloud the envelopes the spacecraft during reentry.  Apollo 7 exited the blackout at 10 days, 19 hours, 59 minutes, and 46 seconds.

The drogue parachute was deployed from the Command Module at 10 days, 20 hours, 3 minutes and 23 seconds.  This was followed by the main parachute deployment at 10 days 20 hours, 4 minutes, and 13 seconds.

On October 22, 1968, at 10 days,  Apollo 7 splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean.  The crew had orbited the Earth for 163 revolutions.   The flight duration for Apollo 7 was 10 days, 20 hours, 9 minutes, and 3 seconds.

Despite the difficulty in dealing with the attitudes of the crew, the Apollo 7 mission was considered a success.  Apollo Program Director General Sam Phillips was quoted to have said "We achieved 101 percent of our mission objectives". This success did not carry over into the careers of the three astronauts.

Director of Flight Operations Christopher Kraft called Schirra and the whole Apollo 7 crew recalcitrant.  Before the flight Schirra had stated his intention to retire upon the completion of Apollo 7 and did so.  Eisele and Cunningham would never have the opportunity to fly again.

After the flight the crew was presented with an Emmy award by the television industry for their live television broadcasts from space.

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UPDATED : January 6, 2007
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