NASA Launches Apollo 7 (1968)
In 1968, NASA launched the first successful manned flight into the earth’s orbit. The mission lasted 11 days and the spacecraft orbited the world 163 times! NASA originally intended to live stream the whole mission, but unfortunately, all of the crew came down with a cold shortly after the launch and so the footage was recorded and broadcast when they had recovered. In the end, 7 sessions were broadcast live on commercial television, gripping the nation! This was thanks to a black and white video camera that the crew brought on board. Apollo 7 was largely a practice run to prove that the technology was sufficient to spend more than a week in orbit. The launch day was hot in Cape Canaveral, and the mission was manned by Wally Schirra, Donn Eisele and Walt Cunningham. During orbit, three of the five windows fogged up due to a sealant problem (this would later be fixed on Apollo 9). The success of Apollo 7 meant that NASA relaunched their efforts and resources to go ahead with the more ambitious Apollo 8. This mission was integral in NASA successfully meeting its 1960s goal of landing humans on the moon when Apollo 11 arrived on the lunar surface. Upon successfully landing back on earth, the three members of the crew signed the front of a one-dollar bill, this can be found in the National Air and Space Museum.
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