Encyclopedia Astronautica
Schirra



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Schirra
Credit: www.spacefacts.de - www.spacefacts.de
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Apollo 7
Prime crew photographed during Apollo 7 mission
Credit: NASA
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Apollo 7
Astronauts Schirra and Eisele seen in first live television transmission
Credit: NASA
Schirra, Walter Marty Jr 'Wally' (1923-2007) American test pilot astronaut. Flew on Mercury MA-8, Gemini 6, Apollo 7. Member of first crew to rendezvous in space, and commander of first manned Apollo mission. Remembered both for practical jokes and uncompromising attention to detail. Flew 90 combat missions in the Korean War.

NAME: Walter M. Schirra

BIRTHPLACE AND DATE: Schirra was born in Hackensack, NJ, on March 12, 1923.

EDUCATION: Graduated United States Naval Academy in 1945

EXPERIENCE: Schirra received his Naval Flight Training at Pensacola Naval Air Station, Florida, in 1947. He served as a carrier-based fighter pilot and operations officer and then attended the Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Maryland. During the Korean War he flew 90 combat missions in the F-86 Sabre as an exchange pilot with the U. S. Air Force and received the Distinguished Flying Cross

NASA selected Schirra as one of the original seven Mercury astronauts in 1959. He flew on the fifth Project Mercury flight, orbiting the earth in his Sigma 7 capsule six times in 9 hours 13 minutes on Oct. 3, 1962. Following the fiasco of Carpenter's preceding flight, he conducted a ‘textbook mission', with minimal experiments.

Schirra commanded Gemini 6, flying with astronaut Tom Stafford. They were to have tracked down and docked with an Agena satellite, but the Agena exploded after lift-off on Oct. 25, 1965. Innovative planners decided Gemini 6 would rendezvous with Gemini 7, a 14-day endurance flight manned by Frank Borman and James Lovell. Gemini 7 was launched Dec. 4, 1965. Gemini 6 was to take off December 12 but was aborted when the Titan 2 booster rocket engine shut down after ignition. Schirra coolly did not pull the ejection handles and stayed on the live booster until it could be safed. Three days later, Schirra and Stafford were launched and the rendezvoused with Gemini 7. After five hours of formation spaceflight, Schirra moved away from Gemini 7. He and Cernan returned to earth the next day while Gemini 7 continued its gruelling flight.

Schirra was commander of Apollo 7 - the first flight test of the redesigned Apollo after the first crew died in the Apollo 1 launch pad fire on January 27, 1967. Following launch on October 11, 1968, the flight was a complete success and provided NASA with confidence to send the next Apollo crew into orbit around the moon. However the Schirra and his crew suffered head colds and had numerous arguments with ground controllers. NASA management secretly decided that none of them would be allowed to fly in space again.

Schirra had already decided to retire from the Navy and NASA before the mission. In 1969 he entered a new business career. He served as an officer and director of several companies and eventually formed his own consultant company, Schirra Enterprises.


Birth Place: Hackensack, New Jersey.
Status: Deceased.


Born: 1923.03.12.
Died: 2007.05.03.
Spaceflights: 3 .
Total time in space: 12.30 days.

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Astronaut Category of persons, applied to those trained for spaceflight outside of Russia and China. More...
  • NASA Group 1 - 1959 Requirement: six pilots for the single-crew Mercury manned spacecraft. Originally a wide pool of candidates was going to be considered, but in December 1958 President Eisenhower ruled that military test pilots would form the candidate pool. Nickname: The Original Seven More...

Associated Flights
  • Mercury MA-7 Crew: Carpenter. Second US manned orbital mission. Excessive fuel use and pilot error led to late re-entry, and landing 300 km past the intended point. Capsule ran out of orientation fuel during re-entry. Backup crew: Schirra. More...
  • Mercury MA-7 Delta 7 Crew: Slayton. Planned second US manned orbital flight. Cancelled 18 March 1962 when astronaut's minor heart condition became public. Backup crew: Schirra. More...
  • Mercury MA-8 Crew: Schirra. Most successful American manned space flight to that date, six orbits, returning to earth precisely, with astronaut aboard recovery ship 40 minutes after landing. Speed record (7,850 m/s). Backup crew: Cooper. More...
  • Mercury MA-11 Crew: Grissom. Planned third one-day Mercury flight. Cancelled as too risky after Mercury MA-9 achieved objective, but only after failure of many spacecraft systems. Backup crew: Schirra. More...
  • Mercury MA-12 Crew: Schirra. Planned fourth one-day Mercury flight. Cancelled mid-1962 in order to move on to Gemini. More...
  • Gemini 3 Crew: Grissom, Young. First spacecraft to maneuver in orbit. First manned flight of Gemini spacecraft. First American to fly twice into space. Manual reentry, splashed down 97 km from carrier. Backup crew: Schirra, Stafford. More...
  • Gemini 6 Crew: Schirra, Stafford. First rendezvous of two spacecraft. Originally was to dock with an Agena target, but this blew up on way to orbit. Decision to rendezvous with upcoming Gemini 7 instead. Mission almost lost when booster ignited, then shut down on pad. Backup crew: Grissom, Young. More...
  • Apollo 204 Crew: Chaffee, Grissom, White. The first manned flight of the Apollo CSM, the Apollo C category mission. Crew killed in a fire while testing their capsule on the pad on 27 January 1967, still weeks away from launch. Set back Apollo program by 18 months. Backup crew: McDivitt, Scott, Schweickart, Schirra, Eisele, Cunningham. More...
  • Apollo 205 Crew: Cunningham, Eisele, Schirra. Planned second solo flight test of the Block I Apollo CSM on a Saturn IB. Cancelled after the Apollo 204 fire. Backup crew: Borman, Collins, Stafford. More...
  • Apollo 7 Crew: Cunningham, Eisele, Schirra. First manned test of the Apollo spacecraft. Although the systems worked well, the crew became grumpy with head colds and talked back to the ground. As a result, NASA management determined that none of them would fly again. Backup crew: Cernan, Stafford, Young. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • USN American agency overseeing development of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. USN Joint Task Force 7, USA. More...

Associated Programs
  • Apollo The successful US project to land a man on the moon. More...
  • Gemini Gemini was conceived as an 'upgraded Mercury' to test essential orbital manoeuvring, rendezvous, docking, lifting re-entry, and space walking techniques in the four years between the last Mercury flight and the first scheduled Apollo flight. If fulfilled this mission, and numerous variants that never reached production would have serviced manned space stations and taken Americans around and to the moon - at lower cost and earlier than Apollo. More...
  • Mercury Mercury was America's first man-in-space project. Setting the precedent for the later Gemini, Apollo, and Shuttle programs, any capsule configuration proposed by the contractors was acceptable as long as it was the one NASA's Langley facility, and in particular, Max Faget, had developed. McDonnell, at that time a renegade contractor of innovative Navy fighters that had a history of problems in service, received the contract. The capsule had to be as small as possible to match the payload capability of America's first ICBM, the Atlas, which would be used for orbital missions. The resulting design was less than a third of the weight of the Russian Vostok spacecraft, and more limited as a result. More...

Schirra Chronology


1959 April 2 - .
  • NASA Astronaut Training Group 1 selected. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Carpenter; Cooper; Glenn; Grissom; Schirra; Shepard; Slayton. The group was selected to provide six pilots for the single-crew Mercury manned spacecraft. Originally a wide pool of candidates was going to be considered, but in December 1958 President Eisenhower ruled that military test pilots would form the candidate pool.. Qualifications: Qualified jet pilot with minimum 1,500 flight-hours/10 years experience, graduate of test pilot school, bachelor's degree or equivalent, under 40 years old, under 180 cm height, excellent physical condition.. Screening of military service records showed 110 military officers that met these criteria. These 110 were to be called in three groups for briefings on the Mercury program. Of the first two groups of 35 called, 56 volunteered for further physical and psychiatric tests. This provided enough candidates and the third group was never even called for a briefing or asked if they would like to volunteer. Of the 56 tested, seven were finally selected (no objective way was found to reduce the seven finalists to six).

    Of the seven astronauts, all eventually flew in space. Grounded due to a heart murmur, Slayton had to wait 16 years for his flight aboard the last Apollo mission. Glenn left for a career in politics after becoming the first American to orbit the earth, but returned to space aboard a shuttle over 36 years later in a NASA publicity stunt. Schirra was the only astronaut to fly aboard Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo spacecraft. Shepard was the only one to reach the lunar surface (after being grounded for a medical condition during the Gemini program). Grissom would die in the Apollo 204 ground fire.


1959 April 2 - .
  • Seven astronauts selected for Mercury project. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Cooper; Grissom; Slayton; Carpenter; Shepard; Schirra; Glenn. Program: Mercury. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Mercury. Seven astronauts were selected for Project Mercury after a series of the most rigorous physical and mental tests ever given to U.S. test pilots. Chosen from a field of 110 candidates, the finalists were all qualified test pilots: Capts. Leroy G. Cooper, Jr., Virgil I. Grissom, and Donald K. Slayton, (USAF); Lt. Malcolm S. Carpenter, Lt. Comdr. Alan B. Shepard, Jr., and Lt. Comdr. Watler M. Schirra, Jr. (USN); and Lt. Col. John H. Glenn (USMC).

1962 May - .
  • Mercury MA-7 Delta 7 (cancelled) - . Call Sign: Delta 7. Crew: Slayton. Backup Crew: Schirra. Payload: Mercury SC18. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Johnson, Lyndon; McNamara; Slayton; Schirra. Program: Mercury. Flight: Mercury MA-7 Delta 7. Spacecraft: Mercury. Astronaut Deke Slayton was to have been the second American in orbit. On March 16, 1962, it was announced that Slayton was grounded - due to a minor heart fibrillation known to NASA when they selected him to be an astronaut. Slayton's three orbit flight would have been called Delta 7. Instead Carpenter was selected for the mission, and Schirra, Slayton's backup, was moved to the Mercury 8 flight.

1962 May 24 - . 12:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC14. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D. LV Configuration: Atlas D 107D.
  • Mercury MA-7 - . Call Sign: Aurora 7. Crew: Carpenter. Backup Crew: Schirra. Payload: Mercury SC18. Mass: 1,349 kg (2,974 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Carpenter; Schirra. Agency: NASA. Program: Mercury. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Flight: Mercury MA-7. Spacecraft: Mercury. Duration: 0.21 days. Decay Date: 1962-05-24 . USAF Sat Cat: 295 . COSPAR: 1962-Tau-1. Apogee: 260 km (160 mi). Perigee: 154 km (95 mi). Inclination: 32.5000 deg. Period: 88.50 min. Scott Carpenter in Aurora 7 is enthralled by his environment but uses too much orientation fuel. Yaw error and late retrofire caused the landing impact point to be over 300 km beyond the intended area and beyond radio range of the recovery forces. Landing occurred 4 hours and 56 minutes after liftoff. Astronaut Carpenter was later picked up safely by a helicopter after a long wait in the ocean and fears for his safety. NASA was not impressed and Carpenter left the agency soon thereafter to become an aquanaut.

1962 October 3 - . 12:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC14. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D. LV Configuration: Atlas D 113D.
  • Mercury MA-8 - . Call Sign: Sigma 7. Crew: Schirra. Backup Crew: Cooper. Payload: Mercury SC16. Mass: 1,374 kg (3,029 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Schirra; Cooper. Agency: NASA. Program: Mercury. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Flight: Mercury MA-8. Spacecraft: Mercury. Duration: 0.38 days. Decay Date: 1962-10-03 . USAF Sat Cat: 433 . COSPAR: 1962-B-Delta-1. Apogee: 285 km (177 mi). Perigee: 153 km (95 mi). Inclination: 32.5000 deg. Period: 88.80 min. The Sigma 7 spacecraft with Astronaut Walter M. Schirra, Jr., as pilot was launched into orbit by a Mercury-Atlas vehicle from Atlantic Missile Range. In the most successful American manned space flight to date, Schirra traveled nearly six orbits, returning to earth at a predetermined point in the Pacific Ocean 9 hours, 13 minutes after liftoff. Within 40 minutes after landing, he and his spacecraft were safely aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Kearsarge. Schirra attempted and achieved a nearly perfect mission by sticking rigorously to mission plan.

1962 October 7 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • The Mercury-Atlas 8 (MA-8) press conference was held at the Rice University, Houston, Texas. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Schirra. Program: Mercury. Summary: Astronaut Schirra expressed his belief that the spacecraft was ready for the 1-day mission, that he experienced absolutely no difficulties with his better than 9 hours of weightlessness, and that the flight was of the 'textbook' variety..

1962 October 16 - .
  • Schirra receives Astronaut Wings. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Schirra. Program: Mercury. Summary: Walter Schirra became the fifth member of the Project Mercury team to receive Astronaut Wings..

1963 January 26 - .
  • New assignments for the seven original astronauts - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Cooper; Grissom; Slayton; Carpenter; Shepard; Schirra; Glenn; Armstrong; Borman; Conrad; Lovell; McDivitt; See; Stafford; White; Young. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Gemini. MSC announced new assignments for the seven original astronauts: L. Gordon Cooper, Jr., and Alan B. Shepard, Jr., would be responsible for the remaining pilot phases of Project Mercury; Virgil I. Grissom would specialize in Project Gemini; John H. Glenn, Jr., would concentrate on Project Apollo; M. Scott Carpenter would cover lunar excursion training; and Walter M. Schirra, Jr., would be responsible for Gemini and Apollo operations and training. As Coordinator for Astronaut Activities, Donald K. Slayton would maintain overall supervision of astronaut duties.

    Specialty areas for the second generation were: trainers and simulators, Neil A. Armstrong; boosters, Frank Borman; cockpit layout and systems integration, Charles Conrad, Jr.; recovery system, James A. Lovell, Jr.; guidance and navigation, James A. McDivitt; electrical, sequential, and mission planning, Elliot M. See, Jr.; communications, instrumentation, and range integration, Thomas P. Stafford; flight control systems, Edward H. White II; and environmental control systems, personal equipment, and survival equipment, John W. Young.


1963 May 6 - .
  • Apollo LEM manual control simulated - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Carpenter; Schirra; Armstrong; McDivitt; See; White; Conrad; Young. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM; CSM Guidance; LM Simulator. Astronauts M. Scott Carpenter, Walter M. Schirra, Jr., Neil A. Armstrong, James A. McDivitt, Elliot M. See, Jr., Edward H. White II, Charles Conrad, Jr., and John W. Young participated in a study in LTV's Manned Space Flight Simulator at Dallas, Tex. Under an MSC contract, LTV was studying the astronauts' ability to control the LEM manually and to rendezvous with the CM if the primary guidance system failed during descent.

By the end of 1963 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D. LV Configuration: Atlas D Mercury s/n 152D.
  • Mercury MA-11 (cancelled) - . Crew: Grissom. Backup Crew: Schirra. Payload: Mercury SC12B. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Grissom; Schirra. Program: Mercury. Flight: Mercury MA-11. Spacecraft: Mercury. From October 25, 1961 until April 1962 NASA’s Mercury program plan included four one-day flights in 1963. By October 1962 the decision had been quietly taken to limit the long-duration flights to only MA-9 and MA-10. MA-10 was fnally cancelled in turn after the successful MA-9 mission.

By the end of 1963 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D. LV Configuration: Atlas D Mercury s/n 167D.
  • Mercury MA-12 (cancelled) - . Crew: Schirra. Payload: Mercury SC17. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Schirra. Program: Mercury. Flight: Mercury MA-12. Spacecraft: Mercury. From October 25, 1961 until April 1962 NASA’s Mercury program plan included four one-day flights in 1963. By October 1962 the decision had been quietly taken to limit the long-duration flights to only MA-9 and MA-10. MA-10 was fnally cancelled in turn after the successful MA-9 mission.

1965 March 23 - . 14:24 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC19. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan II GLV. LV Configuration: Titan II GLV GT-3 / 62-12558.
  • Gemini 3 - . Call Sign: Molly Brown (from Broadway play 'The Unsinkable..'. Crew: Grissom; Young. Backup Crew: Schirra; Stafford. Payload: Gemini SC3. Mass: 3,225 kg (7,109 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Grissom; Young; Schirra; Stafford. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: Gemini. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Flight: Gemini 3. Spacecraft: Gemini. Duration: 0.20 days. Decay Date: 1965-03-23 . USAF Sat Cat: 1301 . COSPAR: 1965-024A. Apogee: 240 km (140 mi). Perigee: 160 km (90 mi). Inclination: 33.0000 deg. Period: 88.40 min. First manned test flight of Gemini. Virgil I. Grissom and John W. Young entered an elliptical orbit about the earth. After three orbits, the pair manually landed their spacecraft in the Atlantic Ocean, thus performing the first controlled reentry. Unfortunately, they landed much farther from the landing zone than anticipated, about 97 km (60 miles) from the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Intrepid. But otherwise the mission was highly successful. Gemini III, America's first two-manned space mission, also was the first manned vehicle that was maneuverable. Grissom used the vehicle's maneuvering rockets to effect orbital and plane changes. Grissom wanted to name the spacecraft 'Molly Brown' (as in the Unsinkable, a Debbie Reynolds/Howard Keel screen musical). NASA was not amused and stopped allowing the astronauts to name their spacecraft (until forced to when having two spacecraft aloft at once during the Apollo missions). The flight by Young was the first of an astronaut outside of the original seven. Young, who created a media flap by taking a corned beef sandwich aboard as a prank, would go on to fly to the moon on Apollo and the Space Shuttle on its first flight sixteen years later.

1965 April 5 - . LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 2.
  • Schirra and Stafford selected for Gemini-Titan 6. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Grissom; Young; Schirra; Stafford. Flight: Gemini 6. Manned Spacecraft Center announced that Walter M. Schirra, Jr., and Thomas P. Stafford had been selected as command pilot and pilot for Gemini-Titan 6, the first Gemini rendezvous and docking mission. Virgil I. Grissom and John W. Young would be the backup crew.

1965 December 15 - . 13:37 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC19. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan II GLV. LV Configuration: Titan II GLV GT-6 / 62-12561.
  • Gemini 6 - . Call Sign: Gemini 6. Crew: Schirra; Stafford. Backup Crew: Grissom; Young. Payload: Gemini SC6. Mass: 3,546 kg (7,817 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Schirra; Stafford; Grissom; Young. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: Gemini. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Flight: Gemini 6; Gemini 7. Spacecraft: Gemini; Gemini Radar. Duration: 1.08 days. Decay Date: 1965-12-16 . USAF Sat Cat: 1839 . COSPAR: 1965-104A. Apogee: 271 km (168 mi). Perigee: 258 km (160 mi). Inclination: 28.9000 deg. Period: 89.60 min. The primary objective of the mission, crewed by command pilot Astronaut Walter M. Schirra, Jr., and pilot Astronaut Thomas P. Stafford, was to rendezvous with spacecraft No. 7. Among the secondary objectives were stationkeeping with spacecraft No. 7, evaluating spacecraft reentry guidance capability, testing the visibility of spacecraft No. 7 as a rendezvous target, and conducting three experiments. After the launch vehicle inserted the spacecraft into an 87 by 140 nautical mile orbit, the crew prepared for the maneuvers necessary to achieve rendezvous. Four maneuvers preceded the first radar contact between the two spacecraft. The first maneuver, a height adjustment, came an hour and a half after insertion, at first perigee; a phase adjustment at second apogee, a plane change, and another height adjustment at second perigee followed. The onboard radar was turned on 3 hours into the mission. The first radar lock-on indicated 246 miles between the two spacecraft. The coelliptic maneuver was performed at third apogee, 3 hours 47 minutes after launch. The terminal phase initiation maneuver was performed an hour and a half later. Two midcourse corrections preceded final braking maneuvers at 5 hours 50 minutes into the flight. Rendezvous was technically accomplished and stationkeeping began some 6 minutes later when the two spacecraft were about 120 feet apart and their relative motion had stopped. Stationkeeping maneuvers continued for three and a half orbits at distances from 1 to 300 feet. Spacecraft No. 6 then initiated a separation maneuver and withdrew to a range of about 30 miles. The only major malfunction in spacecraft No. 6 during the mission was the failure of the delayed-time telemetry tape recorder at 20 hours 55 minutes ground elapsed time, which resulted in the loss of all delayed-time telemetry data for the remainder of the mission, some 4 hours and 20 minutes. The flight ended with a nominal reentry and landing in the West Atlantic, just 10 km from the planned landing point, on December 16. The crew remained in the spacecraft, which was recovered an hour later by the prime recovery ship, the aircraft carrier Wasp.

    Gemini 6 was to have been the first flight involving docking with an Agena target/propulsion stage. However the Agena blew up on the way to orbit, and the spacecraft was replaced by Gemini 7 in the launch order.

    For lack of a target, NASA decided to have Gemini 6 rendezvous with Gemini 7. This would require a quick one week turnaround of the pad after launch, no problem with Russian equipment but a big accomplishment for the Americans. The first launch attempt was aborted; the Titan II ignited for a moment, then shut down and settled back down on its launch attachments. Schirra waited it out, did not pull the abort handles that would send the man catapulting out of the capsule on their notoriously unreliable ejection seats. The booster was safed; Schirra had saved the mission and the launch three days later went perfectly. The flight went on to achieve the first manned space rendezvous controlled entirely by the self-contained, on-board guidance, control, and navigation system. This system provided the crew of Gemini 6 with attitude, thrusting, and time information needed for them to control the spacecraft during the rendezvous. Under Schirra's typically precise command, the operation was so successful that the rendezvous was complete with fuel consumption only 5% above the planned value to reach 16 m separation from Gemini 7.


1965 December 16 - .
  • Landing of Gemini 6 - . Return Crew: Schirra; Stafford. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Schirra; Stafford. Program: Gemini. Flight: Gemini 6; Gemini 7. Gemini 6 splashed down near the aircraft carrier Wasp at 15:28 GMT. The capsule was lifted to the carrier deck with the crew aboard. When the hatch doors were opened, the spacemen gave the thumbs-up while the Navy band crashed in with 'Anchors Aweigh'. It was the first recovery carried live via satellite television.

1966 September 29 - .
  • Second planned manned Apollo flight crew was named by NASA - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Schirra; Eisele; Cunningham; Borman; Stafford; Collins. Program: Apollo. The second planned manned Apollo flight crew was named by NASA. Prime crew members were Walter M. Schirra, Jr., command pilot; Donn F. Eisele, senior pilot; and R. Walter Cunningham, pilot. Backup crewmen were Frank Borman, command pilot; Thomas P. Stafford, senior pilot; and Michael Collins, pilot. The flight was scheduled for 1967. It would be the first space mission for Eisele and Cunningham.

    The second manned Apollo mission was planned as an open-ended earth orbital mission up to 14 days. Increased emphasis on scientific experiments as well as repeating some activities from the first planned manned flight would characterize the mission. (The first planned manned Apollo mission was ended by a tragic accident during a test January 27, 1967.)


1967 January 27 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn IB.
1967 April - .
  • Apollo 205 (cancelled) - . Crew: Cunningham; Eisele; Schirra. Backup Crew: Borman; Collins; Stafford. Payload: CSM-014. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Cunningham; Eisele; Schirra; Borman; Collins; Stafford. Program: Apollo. Flight: Apollo 205. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM. It was originally planned to make a second solo flight test of the Block I Apollo CSM on a Saturn IB. The flight was finally seen as unnecessary; the decision to cancel it came on November 16, 1966. After the Apollo 1 fire on January 27, 1967, the Schirra crew was assigned to Apollo 7, the first manned flight test of the new Block II Apollo CSM-101.

1968 October 11 - . 15:02 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC34. LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn IB. LV Configuration: Saturn IB SA-205.
  • Apollo 7 - . Call Sign: Apollo 7. Crew: Cunningham; Eisele; Schirra. Backup Crew: Cernan; Stafford; Young. Payload: Apollo CSM 101 / S-IVB-205. Mass: 14,674 kg (32,350 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Cunningham; Eisele; Schirra; Cernan; Stafford; Young. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: Apollo. Class: Moon. Type: Manned lunar spacecraft. Flight: Apollo 7. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM. Duration: 10.84 days. Decay Date: 1968-10-22 . USAF Sat Cat: 3486 . COSPAR: 1968-089A. Apogee: 306 km (190 mi). Perigee: 229 km (142 mi). Inclination: 31.6000 deg. Period: 89.90 min. Apollo 7 (AS-205), the first manned Apollo flight, lifted off from Launch Complex 34 at Cape Kennedy Oct. 11, carrying Walter M. Schirra, Jr., Donn F. Eisele, and R. Walter Cunningham. The countdown had proceeded smoothly, with only a slight delay because of additional time required to chill the hydrogen system in the S-IVB stage of the Saturn launch vehicle. Liftoff came at 11:03 a.m. EDT. Shortly after insertion into orbit, the S-IVB stage separated from the CSM, and Schirra and his crew performed a simulated docking with the S-IVB stage, maneuvering to within 1.2 meters of the rocket. Although spacecraft separation was normal, the crew reported that one adapter panel had not fully deployed. Two burns using the reaction control system separated the spacecraft and launch stage and set the stage for an orbital rendezvous maneuver, which the crew made on the second day of the flight, using the service propulsion engine.

    Crew and spacecraft performed well throughout the mission. During eight burns of the service propulsion system during the flight, the engine functioned normally. October 14, third day of the mission, witnessed the first live television broadcast from a manned American spacecraft.


1968 October 22 - .
  • Landing of Apollo 7 - . Return Crew: Cunningham; Eisele; Schirra. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Cunningham; Eisele; Schirra. Program: Apollo. Flight: Apollo 7. The SPS engine was used to deorbit after 259 hours 39 minutes of flight. CM-SM separation and operation of the earth landing system were normal, and the spacecraft splashed down about 13 kilometers from the recovery ship (27.32 N 64.04 W), the U.S.S. Essex at 11:11 GMT. Although the vehicle initially settled in an apex-down ("stable 2") attitude, upright bags functioned normally and returned the CSM to an upright position in the water. Schirra, Eisele, and Cunningham were quickly picked up by a recovery helicopter and were safe aboard the recovery vessel less than an hour after splashdown.

    All primary Apollo 7 mission objectives were met, as well as every detailed test objective (and three test objectives not originally planned). Engineering firsts from Apollo 7, aside from live television from space, included drinking water for the crew produced as a by-product of the fuel cells. Piloting and navigation accomplishments included an optical rendezvous, daylight platform realignment, and orbital determination via sextant tracking of another vehicle. All spacecraft systems performed satisfactorily. Minor anomalies were countered by backup systems or changes in procedures. With successful completion of the Apollo 7 mission, which proved out the design of the Block II CSM (CSM 101), NASA and the nation had taken the first step on the pathway to the moon.

    Although the systems worked, the crew became grumpy with head colds and talked back to the ground. As a result, NASA management determined that none of them would fly again. Apollo 7 landed at 07:12 GMT.


2007 May 3 - .
  • Death of Walter Marty Jr 'Wally' Schirra at San Diego, California. natural causes. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Schirra. Summary: American test pilot astronaut. Flew on Mercury MA-8, Gemini 6, Apollo 7. Member of first crew to rendezvous in space, and commander of first manned Apollo mission. Remembered both for practical jokes and uncompromising attention to detail..

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