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Apollo 7

Day 1, part 1: Launch and Ascent to Earth Orbit

Corrected Transcript and Commentary Copyright © 2010 - 2018 by W. David Woods, Robert McCray and David Hardin. All rights reserved.
Last updated 2018-04-02
[The Apollo 7 mission saw many firsts in the United States manned space flight program. It was the first manned flight of the Apollo program, the first manned launch of the Saturn IB booster, the first manned flight of the Command and Service Module [CSM], the first three-man American crew, and the first operational use of countless spacecraft systems. The mission was in every sense an 'engineering test flight', providing verification of systems and procedures while paving the way for future Apollo missions.]

[Mission objectives were to "demonstrate CSM/crew performance; demonstrate crew/space vehicle/mission support facilities performance during a manned CSM mission; [and] demonstrate CSM rendezvous capability." For nearly 11 days and 163 orbits, the crew of Apollo 7 did just that. The Apollo 7 Mission Report states: "Almost without exception, spacecraft systems operated as intended. All temperatures varied within acceptable limits and essentially exhibited predicted behavior. Consumable usage was always maintained at safe levels and permitted introduction of additional flight activities toward the end of the mission ... Even though somewhat hampered by head colds and upper respiratory congestion, the crew satisfactorily performed all flight-plan functions and completed the photographic experiments."]

[The Apollo 7 prime flight crew included Walter M. (Wally) Schirra, Commander; Donn F. Eisele, Command Module Pilot; and Walter (Walt) Cunningham, Lunar Module Pilot. Wally Schirra was an original Mercury astronaut and the fifth American in space. This would be his third space flight, having previously flown on the Sigma-7 and Gemini-6A missions. Donn Eisele and Walt Cunningham were part of the third group of astronauts selected by NASA in October 1963. Apollo 7 was the first flight for both astronauts.]

[A series of NASA photos detailing prime and back-up crew activities before the launch can be seen on the Apollo 7 Images Page. See the individual captions for a detailed description.]

[Apollo spacecraft No. 101 flown on the Apollo 7 mission was the first Block II Apollo spacecraft. It comprised a Launch Escape System, Command Module, and Service Module. Since Apollo 7 was an earth orbital mission, no Lunar Module was carried.]

[From the Apollo 7 Press Kit: " [The] Launch Escape System propels [the] Command Module to safety in an aborted launch. It is made up of an open-frame tower structure mounted to the Command Module by four frangible bolts, and three solid-propellant rocket motors, a 155,000-pound-thrust (690kN) launch escape system motor, a 33,000-pound-thrust (147kN) tower jettison motor, and a 3,000-pound-thrust (13kN) pitch control motor that bends the Command Module trajectory away from the launch vehicle and pad area. Two canard vanes near the top deploy to turn the Command Module aerodynamically to an attitude with the heat-shield forward. Attached to the base of the Escape System is a boost protective cover composed of glass, cloth and honeycomb, that protects the Command Module from rocket exhaust gases from the main and the jettison motor. The system is 33 feet (10 metres) tall, four feet (1.2 metres) in diameter at the base and weighs 8,900 pounds (4,000 kg)."]

["Command Module Structure. The basic structure of the Command Module is a pressure vessel encased in heat-shields, cone-shaped 12 feet (3.6 metres) high, base diameter of 12 feet, 10 inches (3.9 metres), and launch weight 12,659 pounds (5,742 kilograms). The Command Module consists of the forward compartment which contains two negative pitch reaction control engines and components of the Earth landing system; the crew compartment, or inner pressure vessel, containing crew accommodations, controls and displays, and spacecraft systems; and the aft compartment housing ten reaction control engines and fuel tankage. Heat-shields around the three compartments are made of brazed stainless steel honeycomb filled with phenolic epoxy resin as an ablative material. Heat-shield thickness, varying according to heat loads, ranges from 0.7 inches (1.8 centimetres) to 2.7 inches (6.9 centimetres) on the aft side."]

["Service Module Structure. The Service Module is a cylinder 12 feet, 10 inches (3.9 metres) in diameter by 22 feet (6.7 metres) long. For the Apollo 7 mission, it will weigh 19,730 pounds (8,949 kg) at launch. Aluminum honeycomb panels one inch thick form the outer skin, and milled aluminum radial beams separate the interior into six sections containing service propulsion system and reaction control fuel-oxidizer tankage, fuel cells and onboard consumables."]

[An extensive re-design effort was carried out on the Apollo 7 spacecraft as a result of the Apollo 1 fire which killed astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee 18 months earlier. Over 1,800 changes to the Apollo Command Module were recommended and over 1,300 were implemented for Apollo 7.]

[From the Apollo 7 Press Kit: "A single quick-operating, outward opening crew hatch has replaced the earlier two-piece hatch. The new aluminum and fiberglass hatch can be opened from inside in seven seconds and by a pad safety crew in 10 seconds. Ease of opening is enhanced by a gas-powered counterbalance mechanism ... In order to reduce support of any combustion, launch pad spacecraft cabin atmosphere for pre-launch testing is now a mixture of 60 percent oxygen and 40 percent nitrogen instead of the 100 percent oxygen. The 'enriched air' supplied by ground equipment, involved no hardware changes in the spacecraft. The crew suit loops, however, still carry 100 percent oxygen. After launch, the 60-40 oxygen-nitrogen mix is gradually replaced with pure oxygen until cabin atmosphere reaches 100 percent oxygen at 5 psi. The enriched air mix was selected after extensive flammability tests in various percentages of oxygen at varying pressures."]

[Some other Apollo spacecraft changes included: substituting stainless steel for aluminum in high-pressure oxygen tubing, armor plating water-glycol liquid line solder joints, protective covers over wiring bundles, stowage boxes built of aluminum, replacement of materials to minimize flammability, installation of fireproof storage containers for flammable materials, mechanical fasteners substituted for gripper cloth patches, flameproof coating on wire connections, replacement of plastic switches with metal ones, installation of an emergency oxygen system to isolate the crew from toxic fumes, and inclusion of portable fire extinguisher and fire-isolating panels in the cabin.]

[The booster used to launch the Apollo spacecraft and crew into orbit was the Saturn IB. The Saturn IB launch vehicle used on the Apollo 7 mission was designated AS-205. This identified the launch as the fifth of the second series of Apollo Saturn launch vehicles. Ten successful launches of the Saturn I and four successful launches of the Saturn IB, all unmanned, had preceded it.]

[The Launch Vehicle consisted of two propulsive stages and an instrument unit.]

[From the Apollo 7 Press Kit: "The Saturn IB booster (S-IB) is 80.2 feet long (24.4 metres) and 21.5 feet (6.6 metres) in diameter. Dry weight of the booster is 84,401 pounds (38,284 kg) ... The stage has eight 70 in. (178 cm) diameter tanks clustered around a center tank 105 inches (267 cm) in diameter. Four of the outer tanks and the center tank contain liquid oxygen. The other four tanks, alternating with the LOX tanks, contain kerosene (RP-l) fuel. Eight Rocketdyne H-l engines provide a total thrust of 1.6 million pounds (7,120 kN). The four outboard engines are equipped with independent, closed-loop hydraulic systems which gimbal the engines as much as eight degrees for vehicle flight direction control ... The stage has eight fins equally spaced around the tail unit assembly to increase aerodynamic stability in the lower atmosphere. The fins also support the vehicle on the launch pad and provide tiedown points for restraint momentarily after ignition. Equipment on the S-IB stage includes the propulsion system, the hydraulic system, a control pressure system, purge systems, a fire detection and water quench system, a flight termination or "destruct" system, electrical power, instrumentation, and telemetry systems."]

["The S-IVB stage is 58.4 feet (17.8 metres) long and 21.7 feet (6.6 metres) in diameter. The stage is made up of propulsion and hydraulic systems, a control pressure system, a flight termination system, electrical power supply and distribution system, and an instrumentation and telemetry system. Empty weight of the stage is 21,909 pounds (9,938 kg). The cylindrical stage has a liquid hydrogen tank and a liquid oxygen tank. The tanks are separated by a common bulkhead which isolates the hydrogen about minus 423 degrees F (-253°C, 20K) and oxygen about minus 297 degrees F (-183°C, 90K) ... One Rocketdyne J-2 engine powers the stage. The J-2 engine produces thrust of 200,000 pounds (890 kN) for about 7.5 minutes of operation. It will burn some 64,000 gallons (37,000 pounds, 240,000 litres) of liquid hydrogen and some 20,000 gallons (193,000 pounds, 76,000 litres) of LOX [liquid oxygen]."]

["The 4,280-pound Instrument Unit is a cylinder three feet high (1 metre) and 260 inches (6.6 metres) in diameter. It contains electrical and mechanical equipment which guides, controls and monitors vehicle performance from lift-off until after insertion of the spacecraft into orbit. It controls first stage powered flight, stage separation, second stage powered flight and orbital flight until the spacecraft is separated. Equipment includes guidance and control, electrical power supply and distribution, instrumentation, telemetry, radio frequency, command, environmental control, and Emergency Detection Systems."]

[Launch vehicle and spacecraft delivery and checkout began several months prior to launch. A series of NASA photographs covering the delivery and assembly of the spacecraft can be seen on the Apollo 7 Images page.]

18 Mar 1968 - Individual and combined CM and SM systems test completed at factory.

28 Mar 1968 - Saturn S-IB stage delivered to KSC.

07 Apr 1968 - Saturn S-IVB stage delivered to KSC.

11 Apr 1968 - Saturn S-IB instrument unit delivered to KSC.

29 Apr 1968 - Integrated CM and SM systems test completed at factory.

29 May 1968 - CM #101 and SM #101 ready to ship from factory to KSC.

30 May 1968 - CM #101 and SM #101 delivered to KSC.

11 Jun 1968 - CM #101 and SM #101 mated.

19 Jun 1968 - CSM #101 combined systems test completed.

29 Jul 1968 - CSM #101 altitude tests completed.

09 Aug 1968 - Space vehicle moved to launch complex 34.

27 Aug 1968 - CSM #101 integrated systems test completed.

20 Aug 1968 - CSM #101 electrically mated to launch vehicle.

04 Sep 1968 - Space vehicle overall test completed.

17 Sep 1968 - Space vehicle countdown demonstration test completed.

25 Sep 1968 - Space vehicle flight readiness test completed.]

[The countdown to launch began at 16:00 [4 pm] Eastern Daylight Time on 6 October 1968. There were three planned holds. The first two, at T-72 hours for six hours and at T-33 hours for three hours, allowed sufficient time to fix any spacecraft problems. The final hold, at T-6 hours, provided a rest period for the launch crew. Six hours later, the clock resumed at 05:00 am Eastern Daylight Time, 11 October 1968 in preparation for a scheduled 11:00 am launch.]

[The back-up Command Module Pilot (John Young) and Lunar Module Pilot (Gene Cernan) entered the spacecraft several hours before the prime crew to complete early checks and verify switch positions. At approximately T minus six hours, the pad area was cleared for first and second booster stage liquid hydrogen (LH2) and liquid oxygen (LOX) loading. The prime crew began cabin ingress at approximately T minus 2 hours, 25 minutes.]

[Mission coverage picks up at two hours prior to launch with commentary provided by the Public Affairs Officer, Jack King, in the Launch Control Center (LCC). The LCC, located in the Launch Pad 34 blockhouse, was manned by a crew of approximately 250 technicians during the final stages of the countdown.]

Public Affairs Officer - "This is Apollo/Saturn Launch Control at T minus 2 hours and counting, T minus 2 hours countdown proceeding satisfactorily. The Apollo 7 prime crew aboard the space­craft, going through some checks, primarily of their suit loop, the environmental control system that they have been tied into now aboard the Apollo 7. The spacecraft hatch remains open. It is due to be closed according to count­down about 10 minutes from this time."

Public Affairs Officer - "A short while after the hatch is closed and the cabin itself pressurized with a combination of 60 percent oxygen and 40 percent nitrogen, used for on the ground, we will go through some leak checks and then the commander will proceed into the abort advisory system check. In the meantime, we are in the block house, although the elements of the mission are going as well as the crew is doing aboard the spacecraft at this time."

Public Affairs Officer - "We spent some 2½ hours bringing the propellants aboard the Saturn IB launch vehicle earlier this morning, starting at 5 am when we resumed our countdown at T-6 hours. We brought the liquid oxygen aboard both stages and then the liquid hydrogen, some 67,000 gallons (250,000 litres) of liquid hydrogen will go out of the second stage a little later in the count. Following the propellant loading, the closeout crew attend that into the spacecraft area and Command Module Pilot, backup Command Module Pilot John Young, still aboard the spacecraft to perform some final checks. The prime crew arrived on time and are now aboard. All our checks of the mission still going well and no further reports on our wind conditions, they remain the same as forecast earlier and we will continue to take a hard look at the wind situation, the one questionable factor in the countdown at this time. T minus 1 hour, 58 minutes and count­ing; this is Launch Control."

[Wind conditions at the launch facility were a concern throughout the morning's count-down. Mission rules called for no launch with surface winds greater than 19 knots. Winds at launch were recorded as 17 knots with gusts up to 22 knots, the highest observed surface winds of any Apollo launch. The closest wind speed to this was the launch of Apollo 12 with surface winds of 12 knots gusting to 19. Commander Wally Schirra, in his 1988 book Schirra’s Space, with Richard N. Billings, wrote that later tense exchanges with Mission Control during the mission were due, in part, to his concern about winds blowing the Command Service Module toward a landing on hard ground should an abort occur at launch, and his belief that the winds were too strong at launch. "A Mission Rule had been broken. Needless to say, I was not the happiest guy in town," he wrote.]
Public Affairs Officer - "This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control; T minus 1 hour, 49 minutes, 58 seconds and counting. We are continuing at this time. The three pilots are in the Apollo 7 spacecraft, now checking out some major systems of the spacecraft with the spacecraft test conductor. Now that they are aboard and restrained into their seats, we have brought some final checks of the suit loop into play. We have been checking the flow of the oxygen to the space suits on the three pilots and they appear to be satisfactory at this time. In addition to this, the Command Module Pilot Donn Eisele made some preliminary checks with the spacecraft test conductor and his team are concerned with the guidance and navigation system."
[The spacecraft's Guidance, Navigation, and Control System consisted of inertial, optical, and computing equipment.]

[From the Apollo 7 Mission Report: "The inertial equipment, which includes an Inertial Measurement Unit and inertial Coupling Data Units, senses spacecraft acceleration and changes in attitude and provides velocity and attitude information to the computer equipment. The Inertial Measurement Unit consists of a stable platform mounted in a three-degree-of-freedom gimbal system. Mounted on the stable member are three accelerometers to provide velocity information and three gyroscopes to hold the platform in a single orientation, thereby allowing the gimbals to provide attitude information."]

["The optical equipment, which consists of a sextant, a scanning telescope, optical Coupling Data Units, Mark and Reject switches, and a minimum-impulse hand controller, provides directional data to the Command Module Computer. Visual sightings are made and precision measurements are taken on celestial objects by using the sextant and the telescope. The optics data are used in the Command Module Computer to calculate spacecraft position and trajectory and to align the Inertial Measurement Unit to a star-based inertial reference."]

["The computing equipment, which consists of digital computer and two display/keyboard assemblies, provides data processing, data storage, information displays to the crew, and a limited malfunction diagnosis capability. It also provides a time standard for the guidance and navigation computations and for the central timing equipment. Stored within the computer's memory is a series of instructions forming various programs and routines used to navigate, guide, and control the spacecraft through its various flight phases. Of special interest are those routines that make up the three digital autopilot systems:

a. The Reaction Control System autopilot, which provides attitude control.

b. The Thrust Vector Control autopilot, which processes steering commands and generates gimbal drive signals for the Stabilization and Control System during service propulsion maneuvers.

c. The entry autopilot, which provides rate damping and lift vector control during entry."]

Public Affairs Officer - "Just a matter of seconds ago the commander, Wally Schirra, began a series of checks of the abort advisory system. These are the cues that he receives in the spacecraft; a series of lights on panels indicating malfunctions. He will make a judgment based on these readouts, plus cues he receives from the ground, to make a decision on whether an abort would be required and he would take the action if necessary. At this time, the launch operation manager, Paul Donnelly, here in the blockhouse, is sending a series of cues to the spacecraft in a test of the system. The commander, Walter Schirra, is responding to these abort cues by confirming lights going On and Off in the console to his left front."

[The Abort Light (highlighted yellow) is illuminated by ground command during the abort advisory system checkout. In the event of an actual abort condition on the ground or during flight, the light could be illuminated by ground command from the LCC Launch Director or Flight Director, Booster Systems Engineer, or Flight Dynamics Officer at Mission Control. A second confirmation that an abort condition existed, either by voice command or crew observation, would be required before the crew initiated a launch abort.]

Public Affairs Officer - "Our checkout continuing, in the meantime with the launch vehicle, the propellants are still relatively stable. We are running a few computer program runs with the Instrument Unit above the two stages of the launch vehicle. These computer tests, using the automation system we have at the pad, continue throughout most of the countdown. All proceeding satisfactorily at this time, weather conditions are still the same with the forecast of surface winds 11 to 16 knots in the launch area at launch time, which is planned for 11:00 am Eastern Daylight Time. The winds appear to be marginal. We'll be keeping a close eye on them as we continue down in the count. The launch director is receiving reports on wind profiles from Houston Flight at the Manned Spacecraft Center, the Control Center in Houston. So we'll be keeping a close eye on this. Other aspects of weather appear to be great. The checkout continuing at T minus 1 hour, 47 minutes, 25 seconds and counting; this is Launch Control."
[The computer tests were initiated and carried out by two RCA 110As - a 'master' computer in the LC-34 blockhouse and a 'slave' computer in the automatic ground control station under the launch pad umbilical tower. The two computers were connected by a coaxial cable running through the LC-34 cableway. Tests on the launch vehicle could be initiated from consoles at the Launch Control Center. Signals from the master computer were transmitted to the slave computer housed beneath the umbilical tower. The slave computer interfaced with the launch vehicle, issuing commands and receiving responses.]
Public Affairs Officer - "This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control at T minus 1 hour, 44 minutes and counting. Just about a minute ago the hatch was closed on the Apollo 7 spacecraft. We have it logged at 15 minutes and 30 seconds after the hour; the hatch was closed and secured on the Apollo 7 spacecraft. The support crew is still in the White Room at the 220-foot level. They'll be standing by, as we pressurize the spacecraft, to keep an eye on the progress of pressurization using that 60-40 atmosphere - that is, 60 percent oxygen and 40 percent nitrogen in the spacecraft cabin on the ground. The astronauts of course in their suit loop are checking oxygen directly into their pressurized suits. The countdown is continuing to go satisfactorily at T minus 1 hour, 43 minutes, 8 seconds and counting."
[The 60/40 crew cabin atmosphere used on the ground is another safety measure taken as a result of Apollo 1. The pressurized 100 percent oxygen atmosphere used on Apollo 1 was found to be a major contributor to the fire which claimed the life of the crew.]

[The 'White Room' refers to the workspace at the end of the Apollo spacecraft access arm 220 feet above ground level. It is accessible by elevator and provides the primary means of crew ingress and escape up until launch.]

Public Affairs Officer - "This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control at T minus 1 hour, 39 minutes and counting. One hour, 39 minutes and counting; and we are continuing with the Apollo Saturn count at this time. The astronauts are aboard the spacecraft with the hatch closed and we are starting the pressurization of the cabin with the 60/40 combination atmosphere; that is 60 percent oxygen and 40 percent nitrogen. The astronauts in their spacesuits receiving oxygen directly through the suit circuit at this time with the helmets down. Our weather conditions remain the same as earlier forecast. The forecast for the Cape Kennedy area at launch time, 1100 am EDT here at the Cape, calls for partly cloudy to occasionally cloudy in showers - these are the conditions. The winds are forecast as surface winds, east northeast some 8 to 16 knots. This gets close to our parameters and we are going to keep a close eye on wind conditions throughout the remainder of the count. Temperatures expected to be 82 degrees and we will have several cloud layers in the area, some scattered middle clouds 10 to 14 thousand feet and some high cirrus clouds 30,000 feet. In the event rain comes in, of course, we will get some low clouds in the area of 2,800 feet. Around the rest of the world track, the weather conditions are satisfactory for launch, particularly in the main contingency recovery areas. In the mid Pacific, we expect partly cloudy conditions, winds of 15 knots, sea state of 4 feet. Western Pacific; partly cloudy, winds from the east at 12 knots. Sea state of 4 feet. Conditions are about the same in the Western and Northern Atlantic. The one weather condition the Astronauts might be able to observe on their first pass, following a successful launch, would be as they approach the United States coast on the first pass as they go over Baja, California off the west coast. They might be able to observe a small tropical storm, tropical storm Rebecca, which is a small storm sitting over the Pacific, just off Central America; otherwise, the weather is generally good, cloudy conditions in the three major oceans, but that is the one minor weather condition that they would be able to notice. The checkout continuing in the spacecraft, as well as with the check crew here in the Blockhouse and all aspects of the mission are still going well at T minus 1 hour, 36 minutes, 15 seconds and counting. This is Launch Control."

Public Affairs Officer - "This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control at 30 minutes past the hour and T minus 1 hour, 30 minutes and counting. The crew aboard the Apollo 7 spacecraft is still making the various checkouts of their consoles as we purge the cabin with an atmosphere of 60 percent oxygen and 40 per­cent nitrogen. Once the cabin is purged and pressurized, the standby crew - the support crew - will be ready to depart the area. However, we expect they will be in there for at least another hour standing by as required. The standby crew must depart from the area by the T minus 40-minute mark in the count when we're in our terminal countdown. They will stand by in the White Room for quite a while yet to rechecks of the spacecraft and to assure that everything is Go as far as Apollo 7 is concerned from the 220-foot level. Here in the blockhouse, the crew continuing to monitor the status of the various propellants aboard the Saturn IB launch vehicle; liquid oxygen and the RP-1 fuel in the first stage and the liquid oxygen and hydrogen fuel in the second stage of the IB. We get continuing status reports here from the propellant monitors and all indications are that the propellants are in a very stable condition and are Go at this time. Of course throughout the whole remainder of the countdown we will be replenishing the supply of the liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen since they are cryogenic propellants, and must be maintained at an extremely low temperature. As a result, the supply does boil off and we need to replenish it to assure that we have a hundred percent load on when we're ready to fly and those engines ignite at the 3-second mark in the countdown. The next major milestone coming up in about 10 minutes will be some checks of the Emergency Detection System. These are checks between the crew here in the blockhouse, the spacecraft crew in the Manned Spacecraft Operation Building back at the Kennedy Space Center, and the Apollo 7 spacecraft. The spacecraft commander, Walter Schirra, will be conducting most of the operations as far as EDS or the Emergency Detection System, is concerned from the spacecraft end of the test. We're now at T minus 1 hour, 27 minutes, 33 seconds and counting. This is Launch Control."

[From the Apollo 7 Mission Report: "The launch vehicle Emergency Detection System monitors certain critical parameters of the launch vehicle guidance, propulsion, and attitude control systems. If the monitored parameters exceed certain predetermined limits, the crew can initiate an abort utilizing the launch escape system or, after tower jettison, the crew can command a service propulsion system abort. Also included are provisions for the initiation of an automatic abort in the event of loss of thrust on two or more engines during first-stage flight; excessive vehicle angular rates in the pitch, yaw, or roll plane; or loss of electrical continuity between the spacecraft and launch vehicle."]
Public Affairs Officer - "This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control at T minus 1 hour, 20 minutes and counting; and we are proceeding, still aiming toward our planned lift-off time of 11:00 am Eastern Daylight Time here at the Cape. Launch vehicle here at Pad 34 still going very well at the time as the crew continues to monitor its overall status using two large computers, one here in the blockhouse and one beneath the launch vehicle on the pad to keep checks on the thousands of parameters and feedbacks that we get from the vehicle over these last several hours of the count. At the 220-foot level atop the pad, the prime crew for the mission, astronauts Walter Schirra, Donn Eisele, and Walter Cunningham, aboard their Apollo 7 spacecraft with the hatch closed, and we have just completed a purge of the cabin. That is, bringing in the 60 percent oxygen and 40 percent nitrogen atmosphere into the cabin. In the meantime, however, the crew members themselves are on the suit circuits, that is, taking in 100 percent oxygen through their space suits. We've completed the purge and the crew will now make a sample of the atmosphere inside the cabin and report back on the aspects of the sampling. The countdown continuing, weather conditions still the same, still keeping a close eye on the surface winds in the area, which are forecast to be some 11 to 16 knots from the East Northeast at launch time. Now at T minus 1 hour, 18 minutes, 27 seconds and counting; this is Launch Control."

Public Affairs Officer - "This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control at T minus 1 hour, 9 minutes and counting and we are proceeding with the Apollo 7 mission count. At this time in the count astronaut Wally Schirra is still working on several tests with the ground control people both here in the blockhouse and at the control center back at the main spacecraft operations building at KSC. The commander gave us another report a short time ago as he looked out, he reported, 'from what I can see, it's blue as a bluebird out there'. The checkout is continuing; we have completed the cabin purge of the Apollo 7 spacecraft and Schirra also completed about 5 minutes ago a series of rather extensive final checks of the Emergency Detection System. This is the system that would send cues to the spacecraft atop the launch vehicle in the event of any type of malfunction. We ran through a series of tests lasting some 15 to 20 minutes with the commander in the spacecraft participating with the crew here in the blockhouse and at the spacecraft control center. We are now in the process of calibrating the Q ball which is a small device atop the launch escape tower, right at the top of the bird itself. The Q ball is an angle of attack meter that reads pressures and can give inputs as far as the attitude of the entire space vehicle is concerned during the early portions of flight. This calibration is going on at this time, we're also getting some readouts and checks of the tracking beacons in the Instrument Unit of the Saturn IB Launch vehicle. The large C-Band radar here at the Cape has been sending signals to these beacons in the Instrument Unit and verifying that they are operating satisfactorily. We are still Go at this time, still keeping an eye on the surface wind conditions, but the countdown is continuing. T minus 1 hour, 6 minutes, 37 seconds and counting; this is Launch Control."

[With the Emergency Detection System checks complete, Schirra returns the system to a 'safe' configuration to prevent inadvertent abort commands. The system will be reactivated closer to the launch time.]

[Two C-band transponders are located in the Launch Vehicle's Instrument Unit. They are placed 180 degrees apart to provide coverage regardless of the vehicle's orientation. The transponders receive a coded double pulse interrogation from ground stations and transmit a single-pulse reply in the same frequency band. This provides the primary source of tracking data used on the ground.]

Public Affairs Officer - "This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control, T minus 60 minutes and counting, T minus 60 and we are still proceeding with the Apollo 7 count at this time. The spacecraft test conductor, Skip Chauvin, still making checks with spacecraft commander Walter Schirra in the Apollo 7 space­craft at a 220-foot level here at launch complex 34. Our countdown is still progressing satisfactorily. We will be starting the terminal count in about 9½ minutes from this time. A short while ago Houston Flight [Glynn Lunney] made final status check to see if all elements were ready to pick up the terminal count and all reported Go. We will make our checks here shortly at the Cape, both spacecraft and launch vehicle-wise, to assure all is in readiness for the terminal countdown, which we will start at 50. We are now starting to break up the White Room at the 220-foot level. We have actually pulled some of the openings, although the White Room is still attached to the hatch, some of the openings are now being pulled away in preparation for removing the Apollo access arm which will come about 20 minutes from this time. Checkout is going quite well. Wally Schirra just informed the spacecraft test conductor that we are a little bit ahead on the count in the spacecraft checkout at this time. All aspects still looking good, the one question still remains, surface winds in the Cape Kennedy area. They are close to our marginal limits and we will be keeping a close eye on them as we go further down. Once again, the reported weather conditions, the forecast was for surface winds 11 to 16 knots from the east northeast in the Cape Kennedy area. We are now T minus 58 minutes, 19 seconds and counting; this is Launch Control."
[At this point, the crew has powered up the spacecraft's guidance and control system. From the Apollo 7 Mission Report: "Guidance and control of the spacecraft is provided by the primary Guidance, Navigation, and Control system and by two backup systems, the Stabilization and Control System and the Entry Monitor System. Either the primary system or the combination of the two backup systems is capable of accomplishing the following major functions:

a. Maintain an attitude reference frame from which any desired attitude can be established and maintained.

b. Perform any desired attitude and/or translation maneuver.

c. Generate stabilization commands to control the thrust vector during powered flight.

d. Measure velocity changes along the spacecraft longitudinal axis.

e. Display system status information and spacecraft dynamic data to the crew."]

[A check of the Service Propulsion System (SPS) gimbal drive has also been made. The SPS engine gimbals in pitch and yaw providing thrust vector control during SPS thrusting. The SPS gimbal motors are switched on and a pre-set pitch and yaw setting is verified by the crew.]

SPS Gimbal Drive Switches and Position Indicator.

[The crew also verifies operation of the SPS gimbal drive motors by observing increases in amperage displayed on the fuel cell amperage gauge. Increased amperage means electric current is being drawn by the motors and indirectly verifies the motors are operating. A decrease in amperage is noted as the drive is shut down.]

DC Amperage Indicator.

[From the Apollo 7 Mission Report: "The Service Propulsion System provides the primary impulse for all major velocity changes, including the capability for launch abort after the Launch Escape System has been jettisoned. Control of the system is primarily automatic, but a manual override is provided. The Service Propulsion System incorporates a helium pressurization system, a propellant feed and gauging system, and a rocket engine. The oxidizer is nitrogen tetroxide and the fuel is a blend of approximately 50 percent unsymmetrical dimethyl hydrazine and 50 percent anhydrous hydrazine. Displays and sensing devices are included to permit ground-based stations and the crew to monitor system operation."]

Public Affairs Officer - "This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control at T minus 50 minutes and counting. Fifty minutes and counting, we have started our terminal countdown here at the 50-minute mark and the countdown is a Go for the Apollo 7 mission. At this point in the count, the Capsule Communicator here in the blockhouse, astronaut Stu Roosa, going through some communications checks with the crew aboard Apollo 7 located some 220 feet above the pad here at complex 34. In the meantime checks with the launch vehicle still continuing to go satisfactorily. As we come into our terminal countdown, we will have some major events coming up in some 10 or 15 minutes or so. As the support crew clears away from the White Room, we will be ready to pull back that Apollo Access Arm to a standby position some 3 feet away from the Spacecraft. Countdown still proceeding satisfactorily at 49 minutes, 4 seconds and counting; this is Launch Control."

Public Affairs Officer - "This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control at T minus 45 minutes and counting, T minus 45; the countdown proceeding satisfactorily. We've been in our final countdown for Apollo 7 now for some 19 hours since it picked up yesterday afternoon, and all aspects of the mission are still Go. We're still keeping a close look on weather conditions, particularly the surface winds in the Cape Kennedy area. Following is a recount of the activities since we picked up the countdown early this morning. We came out of a built in hold at 5:00am Eastern Daylight Time with the count down at T minus 6 hours. We then proceeded to load the cryogenic propellants, the liquid oxygen and liquid nitrogen, aboard the two stages of the Saturn IB launch vehicle. In total, we loaded close to 100 thousand gallons of liquid oxygen in total between the two stages, and then proceeded to load some 64 thousand gallons of hydrogen aboard the second stage. Following that operation, we were able to bring our close out crew back in to prepare for the astronaut's arrival. The prime crew, astronauts Wally Schirra, Donn Eisele, and Walter Cunningham, were awakened per the astronaut countdown at 6:00 am Eastern Daylight Time this morning. They were awakened at their quarters at the Manned Spacecraft Operations Building at the Kennedy Space Center, some 7 miles from the launch pad. They then went down the hall to a medical examining room where they took a brief physical examination, given by Doctors Jerry Joyner and John Teegan. Following the physical, Dr. Joyner said the astronauts' physical exams were within normal limits and that they are ready to go. The crew then sat down for breakfast. The menu was steak and eggs, orange juice, toast and coffee. They had a number of guests at breakfast this morning, and these guests included Mr. James Webb, the former administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Mr. John Healy from North American Rockwell, Mr. Fred Peters, who has been NASA representative at North American on the west coast, Mr. Ken Kleinknecht, who is deputy at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, deputy for Command Service Module operations under the Apollo Program Office. Two of the support crew astronauts who have been working so close with the Apollo 7 crew for these many months also were at breakfast with the prime crew. These were astronauts Ron Evans and Bill Pogue. Deke Slayton, Director of Flight Crew Operations, also joining the crew for breakfast. Following breakfast the crew put on their space suits and were called to the pad at the key time in the countdown. Just as the countdown called for, astronaut Walter Schirra came aboard the Apollo Spacecraft at the 2 hour and 25-minute mark in the count. At 10 minute intervals thereafter he was followed in by first the Lunar Module Pilot Cunningham, and finally by Donn Eisele, the man who has the middle seat in the spacecraft, who came aboard 10 minutes later. The hatch on the spacecraft was closed at 9:15am this morning and the count has been continuing satisfactorily since that time. The latest weather report we have for the Cape Kennedy area at this time calls for scattered clouds at launch time, winds from the east 15 to 18 knots with gusts to 22 knots. The temperature in the launch area expected at 82 degrees. For a status report we now switch you to the Mission Control Center in Houston."

Public Affairs Officer - "This is Apollo Control in Houston. It's a typically beautiful Texas day out here, blue skies and almost no wind. I know you people in Florida will appreciate that. Around the world it's pretty much the same. There is some weather out in the Pacific, a typhoon out near Japan, which we won't see for a few revs, and a new tropical storm kicking up off Baja, California. Our world range of stations is in excellent condition, only the most minor problems being reported from the 17 high speed data stations around the world. The Launch Control - Flight Control team that will manage the early revolutions of the flight has been on duty here in Houston now about 2 hours, and all in all we look pretty good. Wally Schirra, while Jack King was talking, I heard him observe as we evacuated the flight room, he is still Wally Schirra. He noted the departure of Gunter Wendt, the pad room - the white room pad leader, by reporting to the crew that Gunter went. And he also suggested that Gunter have a good trip down on the elevator. All in all at 39 minutes before launch we look good here in Houston."

[The PAO commentator in Houston is Paul Haney, often referred to as "the voice of Apollo". He will pick up the commentary again following lift-off when control of the mission shifts to the Mission Control Center in Houston.]
Public Affairs Officer - "This is Apollo Launch Control at T minus 39 minutes and counting. T minus 39 and we are proceeding. Coming up in a few minutes will be another milestone in the countdown as we retract the Apollo access arm from the spacecraft. Up to this time the access arm has been attached even though the spacecraft hatch has been closed. The countdown in the blockhouse calls for the access arm to be pulled back at the 33-minute mark in the count. However, when this does occur, we will pull the access arm some 3 feet [1 metre] away from the spacecraft, 12 degrees to be exact, and this will be a stand­by position in the event it was necessary to bring it back to the spacecraft rapidly. The access arm will not be fully retracted to its fall back position on the umbilical tower until the 5-minute mark in the count. Countdown still proceeding and weather conditions still the same, and we are still keeping a close eye on the surface winds as we come up on 38 minutes and counting. This is Launch Control."

Public Affairs Officer - "This is Apollo/Saturn Launch Control at T minus 33 minutes, 30 seconds and counting. However, we appear to have encountered difficulty, perhaps the first difficulty in our countdown today. It is concerned with the elevator at the launch pad. This is the high speed elevator that travels from the base of the pad to the 220-foot level and of course, carries the crew and other support people up and down from the spacecraft location. The elevator appears to have malfunctioned at this time. We plan to hold 3 minutes from now, the 30-minute mark in the count, and send several technicians in to take a look. In the meantime, the access arm remains attached to the Apollo and of course, directed toward the hatch. In the event of an emergency condition, we have the slide wire available right there on the umbilical tower for escape if necessary. We are going to hold at the 30-minute mark in the count and take a look at the elevator. We are now at T minus 32 minutes, 26 seconds and counting; this is Launch Control."

Public Affairs Officer - "This is Launch Control; T minus 30 minutes. However we are counting. T minus 30 minutes and counting. We have discussed the problem; it appears the difficulty with the elevator now is okay and the countdown is continuing. In the meantime we have completed Apollo transfer with the Saturn IB launch vehicle; that is, going from an external power source to the flight batteries aboard the vehicle and then returning to the external power. We will not go to internal power finally until the 28-second mark in the count. The elevator appears to be okay at this time and the countdown is continuing. We are standing by at T minus 29 minutes, 20 seconds and counting. This is Launch Control."

Public Affairs Officer - "This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control; T minus 28 minutes, 14 seconds and counting and we are proceeding. Just a matter of seconds ago, the Apollo access arm, which had been connected to the spacecraft at the 220-foot level was retracted to a standby position. This is a location some three feet [1 metre] away from the spacecraft. Later on in the count, actually at T minus 5-minute mark, the access arm will be fully retracted. The removal of the access arm at this time, the Launch Escape Tower, about 155,000 pound thrust Launch Escape Tower atop the Command Module, now has been armed. It is now activated and can be used if required. Our status with the elevator is as follows: we understand that the elevator is at the bottom level of the pad. Discussions during the period indicated that this would not be a hazardous condition, since we have the escape system operating on the spacecraft itself and in the event of bringing the access arm back for any difficulty we would have the slide wire and all probability, a capability of bringing the elevator up to the 220-foot level. So we are proceeding and that is our status as we come up on 27 minutes and counting. Mark, T minus 27 minutes and counting; this is Launch Control."

[With the support crew clear of the launch pad, Schirra activates the Emergency Detection System (EDS). A manual abort sequence can now be initiated by rotating the Translational Control T-handle, mounted on the left side of the commander's couch, fully counter clockwise. The Launch Escape System, a solid propellant motor used to propel the Command Module a safe distance from the launch vehicle, fires and initiates the post abort sequence.]
Public Affairs Officer - "This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control at T minus 25 Minutes and counting. T minus 25. We are standing by for another milestone event here at the pad at this time. Coming up shortly will be a check of the Reaction Control System thrusters on the Apollo 7 spacecraft. The spacecraft commander Wally Schirra in a few minutes will in fact static fire some of these modules in order to assure that they will be operating properly. The crew aboard the spacecraft now pressurizing the Reaction Control System, in readiness before the test of the thrusters that will be coming up shortly. All, still all aspects going well with the launch vehicle; we completed a key power transfer test and the count is still going well on the launch vehicle side. Now at T minus 24 minutes, 12 seconds and counting; this is Launch Control."
[Schirra, from the 1968 Technical Debriefing: "[RCS firing] was audible on all of them if you're very, very quiet. You can hear them on the ground, you can hear them in flight; you can hear them all the time because your helmet is off. Most of the time it's off, so that was quite surprising. We didn't really know what we would hear."]

[From the Apollo 7 Mission Report: "The two reaction control systems are those of the Service Module and the Command Module. After the spacecraft has separated from the launch vehicle, the Service Module Reaction Control System controls spacecraft rotation about all three axes and can perform minor translation maneuvers, including separation from the launch vehicle, Service Propulsion System ullage maneuvers, and the Command Module/Service Module separation maneuver. After the Command Module is separated from the Service Module, the Command Module Reaction Control System controls spacecraft rotation about all three axes. This system does not possess direct translation capability, but with specialized techniques, it may be used to provide a backup deorbit capability."]

["The propellants for both Reaction Control Systems consist of nitrogen tetroxide as the oxidizer and monomethyl hydrazine as the fuel. Pressurized helium gas is the propellant-transfer agent. The reaction control engines are capable of being fired in either a pulse mode to produce small impulses or continuous mode to produce a steady-state thrust of 100 pounds [445 N] each. Each engine includes electrically operated fuel and oxidizer valves using an automatic coil excited by signals from the Stabilization and Control System or a direct coil excited by commands from the hand controller."]

["Service Module Reaction Control System. - The Service Module Reaction Control System consists of four functionally identical packages, or quads, located 90 degrees apart around the forward section of the Service Module periphery and offset from the Y-axis and Z-axis by approximately 7 degrees. Each quad configuration is mounted such that the reaction control engines are on the outer surface of the vehicle and the remaining components are inside the vehicle. The engine combustion chambers are canted approximately 10 degrees away from the panel structure, and the two roll engines on each quad are mounted in an offset fashion to accommodate engine plumbing. Each quad package incorporates a pressure-fed, positive expulsion, pulse-modulated, bipropellant supply system to produce engine thrust. The operating temperature of each quad is maintained by internally mounted, thermostatically controlled electric heaters."]

["Command Module Reaction Control System. - The Command Module Reaction Control System is designed to provide the thrust control necessary to orient the Command Module to a predetermined entry attitude and to maintain the proper orientation and stabilization during the entry phase of the mission. This system actually consists of two identical and independent systems. One system can be manually selected for entry operations, and the other system reserved for backup. Although either system can provide the impulse necessary to perform the required entry maneuvers, both systems are normally activated and pressurized just prior to Command Module/Service Module separation. Both systems are totally contained within the Command Module, and each of the 12 engine nozzles are ported through the vehicle surface in a sector predominantly on the minus Z side. The propellant and pressurizing tanks are located in the aft compartment on the plus Z side."]

Public Affairs Officer - "This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control at T minus 21 minutes and counting, T minus 21. At this time, the commander of the Apollo 7 Spacecraft, Wally Schirra, has gone through a series of checks with the Reaction Control System on the Apollo 7 Spacecraft. We have a total of some 16 Reaction Control System engines on the Service Module of the Apollo 7. They're located in four quadrants around the Service Module and each of the engines is capable of generating some 100 pounds [445 N] of thrust. Astronaut Schirra fired these thrusters and the report from the Spacecraft Test Conductor is the static firing went very well. We actually did fire several of the thrusters during this test and the report was that the test went well. In the meantime we completed some final checks of the range safety destruct system aboard the Saturn IB launch vehicle. These are checks between the launch crew and the Air Force Eastern Test Range. Those checks also went very well, and the count is continuing. We have just passed the 20-minute mark. We are now at T minus 19 minutes, 54 seconds and counting; this is Launch Control. "
[From the Saturn IB Flight Manual: "The S-IB stage and S-IVB stage each contain an independent range safety system. Each system consists of redundant secure range safety command systems and a propellant dispersion system (PDS). The secure range safety command systems consist of receiving, decoding, and control equipment. Upon receipt of command signals from range safety, these systems provide electrical outputs to shut down the engines and to detonate the PDS ordnance. A built-in time delay of 4 sec between range commanded engine shutdown and propellant dispersion provides crew escape time with the Launch Escape System (LES) during first stage flight. During second stage flight, after LES jettison, the range has agreed not to send the launch vehicle dispersion command after an abort providing the launch vehicle engines have terminated thrust. This allows adequate time for crew escape during abort using the Service Module propulsion system. The PDS shaped charges rupture the propellant tanks, allowing the propellants to disperse and burn, rather than to explode. The burning propellant results in only a fractional amount of the theoretical yield if the vehicle should explode."]
Public Affairs Officer - "This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control at T minus 16 minutes and counting. T minus 16. We are Go for launch at this time. Our latest check on weather conditions and particularly surface winds in the area indicate the winds are Go at this time, at the 16-minute mark in the count; to repeat, the winds are Go for launch. Coming up shortly, the Apollo 7 spacecraft will go on full internal power; this will come at the 15-minute mark. This means we will go on the full power of the three fuel cells aboard the Apollo 7. Up to this time the fuel cells have been sharing the load with an external power source. When we go internal we remove the external power source from the spacecraft. This will be coming up shortly. In the meantime we are going through final calibrations of the overall telemetry systems, concerned with the Saturn IB launch vehicle. We are now coming up in a matter of seconds on the 15-minute mark in the count; Mark, T minus 15 minutes and counting. T minus 15. This is Launch Control."
[From the Apollo 7 Mission Report: "The Electrical Power System consists of the equipment and reactants, which provide energy storage and power generation, conversion, and distribution for the spacecraft. Primary electrical power is provided by three fuel cells which combine cryogenic hydrogen and oxygen to produce electrical energy and water."]

["Energy storage - Cryogenic oxygen in the fuel cells is stored in two identical tanks at a pressure of 900 psia [6.2 MPa]. Each tank nominally holds 320 pounds [145 kg] of usable oxygen and contains two heaters and two circulating fans which automatically control tank pressure and maintain the oxygen in single-phase thermodynamic condition. The automatic control can be overridden by the crew. Cryogenic hydrogen is stored in two identical tanks at a pressure of 245 psia [1.7 MPa]. Each tank nominally holds 28 pounds [13 kg] of usable hydrogen and contains heaters and circulating fans similar to those in the oxygen tanks."]

["Power generation - Each of the three Bacon-type fuel cells can supply up to 1,420 watts of primary DC power at 29 volts under normal operating conditions. All three fuel cells are activated before lift-off. In the event of failure of one fuel cell, the remaining two can provide sufficient power for safe return of the crew from a lunar mission with nonessential loads removed. Each fuel cell uses a glycol/radiator cooling system and uses potassium hydroxide as the electrolyte."]

Public Affairs Officer - "This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control at T minus 12 minutes and counting; T minus 12, and we are Go for the Apollo 7 mission at this time. At the final 11 minutes or so of the count, we will have a number of major highlights, we will have a status report that will come in about the 5-minute mark and a check of all aspects of the mission to assure that we are still Go at that time. The complete launch vehicle will go on an automatic sequence at the 2-minute and 43-second mark in the countdown. From that time down, all aspects of the count will be automatic, run by the computer system manager here in the blockhouse and also managed spacecraft-wise at the Control Center at the Manned Spacecraft Operations Building at Kennedy Space Center. Countdown continuing at this time; we are now T minus 11 minutes, 6 seconds and counting. As this automatic sequencer continues down, we will have a transfer to internal power with the launch vehicle at the 28-second mark and the eight engines in the first stage of the Saturn IB due to ignite at the 3-second mark in the count. The engines will ignite in tandem and will be up within 3/10 of a second. During those remaining 3 seconds, we basically will check the thrust of the eight engines to assure we have that 1.6 million pounds [7.1 MN] of thrust desired for the launch. At that time, when we close the vents on the Saturn IB launch vehicle, we will have a vehicle on the pad weighing some 1.3 million pounds [590 metric tonnes]. Now approaching the 10-minute mark in the count; we are T minus 10 minutes, 18 seconds and counting. This is Launch Control."

Public Affairs Officer - "This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control. We're at T minus 8 minutes, 25 seconds and counting; and we are still Go for the Apollo 7 launch at this time. Spacecraft Test Conductor Skip Chauvin going through a final status check with his spacecraft crew here at the Kennedy Space Center. In the Blockhouse, the crew still monitoring the performance of the Saturn IB vehicle and all is Go for the mission at this time. He's completing up the status report as we complete the 8-minute mark. T minus 8 minutes and counting, T minus 8 and we are Go for launch at this time. This is Launch Control."

[The crew conducts a final communications check with Mission Control, Houston at T minus 8 minutes using both S-band and VHF voice communications.]

[From the Apollo 7 Mission Report: "The Communications System includes the spacecraft communications and data equipment required for the following functions: voice communications; acquisition, processing, storage, and transmission of operational and flight-qualification telemetry data; reception of up-data; appropriate tracking and ranging signals; onboard television transmission; special communications tests, and postlanding recovery transmissions. The system includes both VHF and S-band antennas to accommodate the various RF frequencies used in air-to-ground transmissions."]

["Voice communications include spacecraft intercommunications between crewmen, hardline two-way voice communications with the Launch Control Center through the Service Module umbilical during the prelaunch period, inflight two-way voice communications with the Manned Space Flight Network by VHF-AM and S-band systems, and postlanding voice communications with recovery ships and aircraft."]

["Data operations include time-correlated voice tape recording of flight crew comments and observations; acquisition and processing of onboard telemetry data for monitoring the operation of spacecraft systems and crew performance; telemetry data storage; S-band transmission of realtime or stored telemetry data; and S-band reception of updates (guidance and navigation data, timing data, and real-time commands) from the Manned Space Flight Network."]

Public Affairs Officer - "This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control at 6 minutes, 38 seconds and counting. We are still Go for launch at this time. Astronaut Wally Schirra just got a report that he was Go for 164 laps, he said he was ready to go without a tire change. The count still proceeding at this time. T minus 6 minutes, 20 seconds and counting; however, we just heard a report over the circuit we are asking for a Hold. We are standing by for further reports. We are now at T minus 6 minutes, 15 seconds and holding; T minus 6:15 and holding. This is Launch Control; 6 minutes, 15 seconds and holding. The test supervisor advises he expects this to be a very brief hold. The reason is concerned with a chill down of the engine of the second stage of the Saturn IB launch vehicle. From the 20-minute mark down we introduced gaseous helium into the engine chamber of the second stage to condition it for those propellants that will come into the engine chamber during flight. Of course, the liquid oxygen is at minus 297 [°F, -183°C] and the liquid hydrogen at 423 degrees below zero [°F, -253°C]. The request for the hold came to give an additional several minutes for the chill down. To repeat, we are holding at 6 minutes, 15 seconds expecting to resume the count shortly. This is Launch Control standing by."
[Chilldown of the S-IVB stage's J-2 engine LOX turbopump and feed duct was required to meet turbopump inlet temperature requirements at engine ignition. Cold helium at approximately -320°F [-196°C] and 1,000 psig [7 MPa] entered the S-IVB stage through the umbilical connection and flowed at 15 lb/min [7 kg/min] into the thrust chamber jacket. From Results of the Fifth Saturn IB Launch Vehicle Test Flight: "Thrust chamber chilldown was initiated at -10 minutes. The thrust chamber jacket temperature response was slightly slower than expected and it appeared that a flow restriction may have occurred in the ground support equipment (GSE). The GSE heat exchanger crossover valve was closed for 50 sec and reopened to verify flow through both coils of the heat exchanger. This procedure reduced the rate of chilldown, and raised doubts that the temperature requirement would be met at initiation of Automatic Countdown Sequence. To avoid calling a hold after IAS, which would have caused a countdown recycle to minus 15 min, a hold was called out at minus 6 min, 15 sec. After 165 sec, the chilldown progress was satisfactory, and the countdown was resumed. When chilldown was terminated at lift-off, the temperature was -203°F [-131°C], which was below the redline maximum temperature of -185°F [-121°C]. At S-IVB engine start command, the temperature was -177°F [-116°C], which was within the requirement of -170°F to -270°F [-112°C to -168°C]."]
Public Affairs Officer - "This is Launch Control. We are holding at 6 minutes, 15 seconds. Launch Vehicle Test Conductor has advised we expect to resume the count about 35 seconds from this time. To repeat, the reason for the hold concerned with additional time for the chilldown of the second stage engine of the Saturn IB launch vehicle. We are standing by to resume the count."

Public Affairs Officer - "This is Launch Control. We have just resumed the count down now at T minus 6 minutes and 8 seconds and counting. We resumed the count at 56 minutes past the hour. Now coming up on the 6-minute mark; mark T minus 6 minutes and counting. T minus 6, we are proceeding. All reports are that we are Go for a launch at this time. At this point in the countdown now, we will be coming up on the 5-minute mark, we will be ready to retract that Apollo access arm to its full retract position. It has been on a standby position some 3 feet [1 metre] from the Command Module up to this time. We have now armed the ignition system of the Saturn IB launch vehicle. This means that it can now receive the signals to ignite those engines at the proper time in the countdown, which will come at the 3-second mark. We'll be coming up on some final status reports at this time. T minus 5 minutes, 15 seconds and counting. The mission director, Bill Snyder, has given a Go for the launch. Coming up on the 5-minute mark; Mark, 5 minutes and counting, says Supervisor Don Phillips, giving a final call of Go/No-Go to the various elements of the mission. We are standing by as the reports come back in."

Public Affairs Officer - "This is Apollo Launch Control now at T minus 4 minutes, 7 seconds and counting. Spacecraft Test Conductor Skip Chauvin has told Commander Wally Schirra 'You are Go for the launch.' Schirra reported that all looks good. We have now armed the destruct system of the two stages of the Saturn IB launch vehicle, and will be coming up about a minute from this time on the automatic sequencer. From that time down we will be completely automatic in the launch vehicle. We are now at 3 minutes, 40 seconds and counting. This is Launch Control."

[With the destruct system armed, the range safety officer at Air Force Eastern Test Range can intentionally destroy the vehicle if it should deviate beyond the acceptable limits of the intended trajectory, or if an explosion were imminent during the boost phase of powered flight.]
[At T minus 4 minutes, 10 seconds, the eight LV Engines lights illuminate in preparation for engine ignition. The lights indicate that each corresponding S-IB stage engine is below 90 percent thrust and extinguish with ignition and thrust build-up just prior to lift-off.]
Public Affairs Officer - "This is Apollo Saturn Launch Control coming up on the 3-minute mark on the count, several seconds from this time. Mark, 3 minutes and counting, T minus 3; we are continuing. The astronauts in the spacecraft having just completed some final checks on the guidance and navigation system."
[Donn Eisele in the center seat verifies the Apollo Guidance Computer is running in Program 2 (P02). The current program is displayed on the Display and Keyboard (DSKY) located on the Main Display Console. P02 is used to keep the spacecraft's navigation system aligned to the correct orientation for launch and switches automatically to the ascent guidance program, Program 11 (P11), at lift-off. As a back-up to the automatic program switch, Verb 75 is keyed in using the DSKY keyboard. If P11 does not start at lift-off, it can be manually started by pressing Enter.]

[A detailed look at the Apollo Guidance Computer is available in this essay by Phill Parker: The Apollo On-Board Computers.]

CSM Main Display Console showing the DSKY with P02 running and Verb 75 keyed in.

Public Affairs Officer - "We are now at 2 minutes, 50 seconds; coming up shortly on the automatic sequencer. The astronaut abort advisory system is in effect at this time; the key people here at the launch complex ready to advise. Now at T minus 2 minutes, 35 seconds and counting, it appears that the automatic sequencer is in at this time; T minus 2 minutes and 30 seconds. At this point, the various tanks in the two stages of the Saturn IB vehicle are starting to pressurize. We pressurize these tanks with helium. They are pressurized, of course, to force the various propellants into the engine chambers for the proper ignition. The S-IB first stage fuel tank is pressurized and the second stage liquid oxygen tank pressurizing at this time."
[Eisele, from the 1968 Technical Debriefing talking about the automatic sequencer: "You can tell things are happening. I don't know exactly what's happening. You don't know what the sequence is but you can tell, feel, and hear, at very low levels some fluids running around; and you can feel the engines thumping and feel the whole stack shake a little."]

[Wally Schirra in the left hand Commander's seat pulls the Primary Glycol to Radiator Valve to the Bypass position as the water/glycol pump on the ground is deactivated. The water/ethelyne glycol mixture is used as part of the Environmental Control System (ECS) to dispose of excess heat. Heat from the spacecraft is transferred to the mixture flowing through primary and secondary loops and then transferred to space by radiator heat rejection or water evaporation. However, during ascent, those radiators will be warmed by friction with the air and unable to lose heat from the coolant. Therefore they are temporarily bypassed.]

Public Affairs Officer - "Now coming up on the 2-minute mark; T minus 2 minutes and counting, T minus 2. Not as much reports now on the communications circuits as everybody stands by monitoring the various consoles and watching the various parameters to assure everything is okay. T minus 1 minute, 43 seconds and counting; we are still proceeding. Astronauts standing by in the spacecraft as we come up on the 92 mark in our countdown. Mark; T minus 90 seconds and counting; T minus 90. We have conditioned the liquid oxygen in the first stage of the Saturn Launch Vehicle; all tanks in the two stages now pressurizing. Most of the work over these final several minutes concern with the launch vehicle directed by the test conductor, Don Carlson."
[Walt Cunningham in the right side Lunar Module Pilot's seat switches on the Main Bus Ties connecting the entry batteries to the main power busses. The entry batteries can be placed on-line in parallel with the fuel-cells during peak-power loads, such as launch or service propulsion maneuvers, to augment the fuel cell capability to accept transient load conditions.]

MP3 Audio Clip [3 mins 18 sec] [Audio clip provided by Kipp Teague.]

Public Affairs Officer - "One minute, 10 seconds and counting. We are still Go at this time. Coming up on 1 minute; Mark; T minus 60 seconds and counting. We are Go for Apollo 7 at this time. T minus 50 seconds; the vehicle now pressurized and the vehicle is Go as is the spacecraft at this time. Coming up on the 40-second mark; T minus 40 seconds and counting."

Public Affairs Officer - "T minus 40. All reports look good from here in the blockhouse at this time. All aspects of the mission Go; T minus 30 seconds and counting. We'll get ignition of those 8 engines in the first stage at the 3-second mark in the countdown. Now at T minus 21 seconds and counting, we have completed our power transfer. The Saturn IB launch vehicle, which now weighs 1.3 million pounds is ready to go; coming up on the 10-second mark."

[The mission transcript picks up with astronaut Stu Roosa in the Launch Control Center.]
-000:00:15 Roosa: And Apollo 7, stand by for the 10-second count.

-000:00:12 Schirra: Roger, Stu.

-000:00:10 Roosa: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4...

Public Affairs Officer - "10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, we have ignition..."

-000:00:03 Roosa: Ignition.

WMV Video Clip [20 sec] [This NASA footage shows the launch of Apollo 7 in slow motion from a static camera on the ground. It runs from from lift-off to tower clear.]

WMV Video Clip [39 sec] [A NASA engineering camera at the base of the launch pad captured this slow motion footage of the Apollo 7 launch. It runs from from lift-off to just after tower clear.]

WMV Video Clip [3 mins, 35 sec] [This NASA clip shows the launch of Apollo 7 in real time from a tracking camera on the ground and in the air. It runs from from lift-off to S-IVB ignition. Audio is synchronized with the MP3 recording provided by Kipp Teague where available.]

[A series of NASA photos covering the launch phase can be seen on the Apollo 7 Images page.]

[The automatic ignition sequence, which schedules the engines to start in pairs with a 100 millisecond delay between each pair, began with ignition command at -2.988 seconds. The launch vehicle was secured to the launch pad by 'hold-downs' until thrust built up in all eight engines.]

[Schirra, from the 1968 Technical Debriefing: "Man, oh man, was that a Mother. I am going to use the word 'Mother' and quote me on it, but when it lights off, there is no way to know when you have lift-off. It's just a thundering heard down there. If I had a hold-kill on that thing, it probably would have taken ten seconds to make up my mind that I had one. When I heard ignition, it developed a real violent, shaking sound; it's very unreal."]

[Cunningham, from 2012 correspondence with Journal contributor Dave Hardin, on the sounds and feel at launch, "It’s a combination of noise and a tremendous amount of vibration. We could only confirm lift-off by the altimeter movement."]

000:00:01 Schirra: Lift-off and clock's running.

000:00:02 Roosa: Lift-off.

Public Affairs Officer - "Commit... lift-off; we have lift-off."

000:00:03 Petrone: Roger. Godspeed, Apollo 7.

[At lift-off, the Apollo Guidance Computer switches automatically to Program 11 (P11), the Boost Monitor program. It generates attitude error indications displayed on the FDAIs and displays information on computed trajectory to the crew.]

DSKY with P11 running just after lift-off.

[The DSKY display shows three pieces of information in P11:

R1: VI (Inertial Velocity in feet per second)

R2: H-dot (Altitude rate, or vertical velocity in feet per second)

R3: H alt (Altitude in nautical miles (.1)]

[Information displayed here is checked periodically against pre-computed values as a verification guidance system performance. A table similar to the one shown on Page 2-3 of the Apollo 15 Launch checklist is used by the crew to check the displayed values against the predicted values.]

000:00:07 Petrone: Clear of the tower!
[Launch Director Rocco Petrone makes the 'tower clear' call from the Launch Control Center. NASA photo [68-H-942] shows Petrone seated in the LCC prior to launch. Control of the flight now shifts to the Mission Control Center in Houston. The flight control team at Mission Control is the Black Team led by Flight Director Glynn Lunney. They have been closely monitoring the spacecraft systems during launch preparations so the transition is a smooth one.]
Public Affairs Officer - "This is Launch Control; we have cleared the tower."

Public Affairs Officer - "Roger; tower clear."

[Paul Haney at Mission Control, Houston takes over as PAO commentator.]
000:00:11 Schirra: Roll commence.

Public Affairs Officer - "12 seconds out and the roll program has commenced."

000:00:13 Swigert: Roger roll. [Pause.]

[A roll program is initiated to place the spacecraft on the desired launch azimuth of 72 degrees. The vehicle is oriented to 90 degrees, due east, on the launch pad so a roll of 18 degrees to the right is required to place it on the correct azimuth after lift-off. Roll is controlled through gimbaling of the four outboard first stage engines.]

[Astronaut Jack Swigert serves as CapCom, or 'capsule communicator' for Glynn Lunney's Black Team. The CapCom, always an astronaut, serves as a single point of contact for communicating with the crew.]

000:00:24 Schirra: Pitch is tracking good.

Public Affairs Officer - "24 seconds out and Schirra reports the pitch program has commenced."

000:00:25 Swigert: Roger pitch. You're looking good.

[A very interesting pair of photos was taken from a C-135 aircraft at about this point in the ascent using the Airborne Lightweight Optical Tracking System. They are: 68-HC-642 (high-res version) KSC-68PC-187 (high-res version).]
000:00:27 Schirra: Roger.
[The Saturn Launch Vehicle flies a preprogrammed pitch program throughout the early stages of flight. The pitch program is a function of time and pitch angle, the vehicle positioning itself at specified angles at predetermined times into the flight. This continues until just prior to first stage cut-off. An adaptive guidance routine takes over after S-IVB stage ignition and steers the vehicle onto a trajectory controlled by electronics in the instrument unit.]
000:00:31 Schirra: Five thousand, 5 degrees. [Pause.]

000:00:40 Schirra: Roll complete.

Public Affairs Officer - "40 seconds, the roll program is complete."

000:00:42 Swigert: Roger. You're looking real good.

[The spacecraft is now on the desired launch azimuth of 72 degrees.]
000:00:44 Schirra: Roger. She's running nice - getting a little noisy now. [Long Pause.]
[Schirra, from the 1968 Technical Debriefing: "Mach 1 - I was really worried about this Mr [Deke] Slayton. I was worried about the fact that we could not talk to each other with the comm carriers on. I mean that the dB attenuation was very low, and yet, this wasn't as noisy as the Atlas, Agena, or Titan. I was quite surprised."]
Public Affairs Officer - "55 seconds, the cabin is relieving. Schirra reported a little noise."
[At 48 seconds into the flight, the cabin air pressure starts relieving. At launch, the cabin pressure is identical to the ambient sea-level pressure of approximately 14 psi. As the spacecraft ascends through the thinner and thinner atmosphere, outside air pressure decreases but the cabin air pressure remains the same. When the cabin pressure exceeds the outside ambient air pressure by 6 psi, the Cabin Relief Valve automatically opens maintaining cabin pressure at 6 psi above ambient.]

[Donn Eisele is closely monitoring this process and is standing by to have Wally Schirra open the Cabin Relief Valve if needed. Failure of the cabin to relieve properly could lead to over-pressurization and rupture of the pressure vessel.]

000:01:01 Swigert: Mark. Mode 1 Bravo.

000:01:04 Schirra: Roger, 1 Bravo. [We're Go.]

000:01:07 Swigert: Roger. [Long Pause.]

[Mode 1 Bravo refers to the abort mode applicable to this phase of flight. From the Saturn IB Flight Manual: "In Mode IA, a pitch control motor is mounted normal to the Launch Escape motor to propel the vehicle downrange to ensure water landing and escape the 'fireball'. The CM RCS propellants are dumped through the aft heat shield during this mode to preclude damage to the main parachutes. Mode IB is essentially the same as Mode IA with the exception of deleting the rapid propellant dump and pitch control motor features. The canard subsystem was designed specifically for this altitude region to initiate a tumble in the pitch plane. The CM/tower combination CG [center of gravity] is located such that the vehicle will stabilize in the blunt-end-forward configuration. Upon closure of barometric switches, the tower would be jettisoned and the parachutes automatically deployed."]
Public Affairs Officer - "One minute, 20 seconds into the flight; all systems Go on the ground and in the air."
[The Launch Vehicle has passed through Max Q, the area of maximum aerodynamic stress on the vehicle.]
Public Affairs Officer - "One minute, 40 seconds. Flight Director asked the Flight Dynamics Officer if he likes it, and he says, 'Yes sir; it looks good.'"
[The Flight Dynamics Officer or 'FIDO' monitors spacecraft trajectory during launch by means of a console showing, among other things, planned trajectory versus actual trajectory. The Launch Vehicle is performing well, with the planned versus actual trajectory matching very closely.]
000:01:43 Schirra: EDS manual.
[Here, Schirra reports that the Emergency Detection System has been placed in manual mode to prevent an inadvertent automatic abort at staging.]
000:01:47 Swigert: Copy.
[NASA photo 68-HC-641 (high-res version) is a striking photograph from this point in the launch taken from a C-135 aircraft at high altitude.]
000:01:49 Swigert: Mark. Mode 1 Charlie.

000:01:51 Schirra: Roger, 1 Charlie. [Pause.]

[The vehicle is now in abort Mode 1C. From the Saturn IB Flight Manual: "During Mode IC the Launch Vehicle is above the atmosphere. Therefore, the canard subsystem cannot be used to induce a pitch rate to the vehicle. If the Launch Vehicle is stable at abort, the Launch Escape Tower is manually jettisoned and the Command Module oriented to the re-entry attitude. This method provides a stable re-entry but requires a functioning attitude reference. With a failed platform the alternate method will be to introduce a five degree per second pitch rate into the system. The CM/tower combination will then stabilize BEF [blunt end forward] as in Mode 1B. The LES would likewise deploy the parachutes at the proper altitudes."]
Public Affairs Officer - "Coming up on 2 minutes; Mark, 2 minutes. We're having a status check; Apollo 7 has been given a Go for staging."

000:02:01 Swigert: Apollo 7, you are Go for staging.

000:02:03 Schirra: Roger. We're Go here Jack. [Pause.]

[The Launch Vehicle approaches staging, that is shutdown of the Saturn IB booster followed by separation and ignition of the S-IVB second stage.]
000:02:15 Swigert: [Garble]

000:02:19 Schirra: Copy.

000:02:21 Schirra: Inboard cut-off [Garble].

Public Affairs Officer - "Inboard engines have shut down; outboard engines have shut down; Schirra called both events."

[At staging, the four inboard S-IB engines shut down followed by the four outboard engines. From the Saturn IB Flight Manual: "S-IB/S-IVB stage separation occurs 1.3 sec after S-IB stage outboard engine cut-off on command by the S-IB stage switch selector. The S-IVB stage separates from the S-IB stage/aft interstage at vehicle station 1186.804 by simultaneous operation of: (1) the stage separation ordnance system, which severs a circumferential tension plate; (2) four retromotors, which decelerate the S-IB stage/aft interstage assembly; and (3) three ullage rockets, which maintain a slight acceleration on the S-IVB stage and payload."]

[Schirra monitors the staging process by use of the LV Engines lights. At inboard engine cut-off, the corresponding lights illuminate as a visual cue the engines are no longer running. At outboard engine cut-off, the other lights illuminate. Physical separation of stages is indicated with all engine lights off. The No.1 light will come on again 2.4 sec after OECO (outboard engine cut-off) and goes off when the S-IVB engine exceeds 65 percent thrust.]

LV Engines lights.

000:02:25 Schirra: Ignition... [and we're up to thrust.] [Pause.]
[Cunningham from the 1968 Technical Debriefing: "Inboard cut-off [was] right on time. As called out, outboard cut-off. Sep[aration], boy that was a thrill! Every time we hit an event like this where there is a pyro or something it is a crash... You'd think the whole back end blew off, which it did, of course, after fire."]

[Schirra, from the 1968 Technical Debriefing: "...the [S-IVB] ignition was as soft as a powder puff. I didn't even know it happened except the light went off."]

Public Affairs Officer - "He's got ignition and he says we are up to thrust on the second stage."

Public Affairs Officer - "The thrust is okay at 2 minutes 40 seconds into the flight."

000:02:59 Swigert: You're looking good, 7.

000:03:03 Schirra: Oh, beautiful. Tower has really jettisoned. It went way out.

Public Affairs Officer - "Wally says all beautiful, that tower has really jettisoned; it went way out. We are near the 50-mile [93-km] altitude now and about 60 miles [111 km] downrange. Three minutes, 5 seconds into the flight."

[Schirra, from the 1968 Technical Debriefing: "The tower and the Boost Protective Cover were very obvious to us, another noisy event, and I saw it go; a big ice cream cone just going out there and throwing off. And that event, I think, is what put the smoke on the number 2 and number 4 windows just about half an inch on the edges, as I described in the flight. That was there the whole flight."]

[With jettison of the Launch Escape Tower, the spacecraft enters abort Mode II. From the Saturn IB Flight Manual: "[In the event of a Mode II abort], the SM RCS engines are used to propel the CSM away from the Launch Vehicle. When the CSM is a safe distance and stable, the CM is separated from the SM and maneuvered to a re-entry attitude. A normal entry procedure is followed from there."]

000:03:13 Schirra: Houston, do you read Apollo 7?
[This is the first indication of communication problems the spacecraft will experience throughout the remainder of the launch. Voice communication from the spacecraft to the Mission Control Center in Houston was missing for about 25% of the time and was garbled for an additional 25% of the time during launch. The cause was determined to be malfunctioning receivers and improper procedures at the ground stations.]

[A detailed analysis of the communications problems encountered during launch phase is in the 'Apollo 7 Launch Phase Air to Ground Voice Contact Analysis'.]

000:03:15 Swigert: Roger. Five-five, Wally. You're looking good; real fine.
['Five-Five' refers to the quality of voice communications being received at Mission Control. The signal quality is reported on two scales; the first is for signal strength, and the second for signal clarity. Both these scales range from one to five, where one is the worst and five is the best. This was a common transmission during the Apollo missions, sometimes seen as 'Five by Five', 'Five by', 'Five square', 'Loud and Clear', etc.]
000:03:18 Schirra: [Garbled] I couldn't receive you VHF.
[At this point, Schirra turns up his S-band receiver volume due to poor reception on VHF.]
000:03:20 Swigert: Okay.

000:03:21 Schirra: Tower jettisoned beautifully; did you read that?

000:03:23 Swigert: Yes, we didn't get that, but we got Go.

Public Affairs Officer - "Schirra has just tagged up with the comm here in Houston; a very clean voice communication today. Three minutes, 25 seconds into the flight."

000:03:26 Schirra: Okay.

000:03:29 Cunningham: I'm reading him VHF now, Wally.

000:03:31 Schirra: Okay.

000:03:34 Cunningham: I'll count you in on 4 minutes.

000:03:36 Schirra: Okay.

[From this point in the journal, portions from the DSE onboard voice recording will be included. Readers should note that if an utterance by a crewmember is listed as 'onboard', the ground crews are not hearing it live at that time. They will be able to hear the onboard voice after they have replayed it to Earth during a regular dump of the tape.]
[The onboard voice transcription shows five statements as originating from this phase of the flight. The voice recording from the boost phase was not recovered and these statements may or may not be at the correct place in the time sequence. These same statements show up repeatedly throughout the transcription, particularly at the beginning of a block of onboard voice recordings (i.e. the beginning of the tape). The first four statements fit the context and could conceivably be from this point in the boost phase. The fifth statement was clearly out of context and moved to the appropriate place in the timeline.]
000:03:37 Cunningham (onboard): Okay, Donn?

000:03:38 Eisele (onboard): Yes.

[Walt Cunningham is preparing to give a countdown to the four-minute mark to aid Schirra in ensuring launch vehicle gimbal angles are as expected. Here, he is probably verifying that the systems monitored by Donn Eisele from the center seat are operating normally in preparation for the scheduled status report at 4 minutes.]
000:03:38 Swigert: Trajectory and guidance are Go, Apollo 7.

Public Affairs Officer - "Trajectory and guidance give another Go here."

000:03:40 Cunningham (onboard): They just broke off.

000:03:41 Schirra: Roger. She looks real good. A little bumpy ride on this stage, but very pleasant.

Public Affairs Officer - "Wally says, 'A little bumpy' on the second stage; a little bumpy, but we can't hear any complaints. Seventy miles altitude [130 km]; and about a 120 miles [222 km] downrange."

000:03:42 Eisele (onboard): They gave up.

000:03:45 Cunningham (onboard): Okay, we can continue with this now. It's [garble] but while you're there, let's get the pyro breakers off.

[Cunningham and Eisele were unable to hear communications from the ground at this point due to poor VHF transmission quality. Schirra can hear and answer Mission Control because he turned his S-band receiver volume up earlier.]
000:03:46 Swigert: Real fine.

000:03:52 Cunningham: On my Mark, it will be 4 minutes, Wally.

000:03:55 Schirra: Okay.

000:03:57 Cunningham: Three, two, one.

000:04:00 Cunningham: Mark. Apollo 7, systems are Go.

000:04:03 Swigert: Roger. Looking real fine here, Walt.

000:04:10 Eisele: Gimbals are tight.

Public Affairs Officer - "Four minutes, 10 seconds into the flight."

000:04:16 Schirra: Gimbal check looks very good.

Public Affairs Officer - "Schirra says, 'The gimbal check looks very good'."

000:04:20 Schirra: This 1g stuff is great.

Public Affairs Officer - "His observation is the 1g stuff is great. Apparently the g-loads were quite low. We've been monitoring Schirra's heart rate because that's the only physical parameter we have coming through and it, at launch, and through the early stages, ran about 90 and 92 beats. Four minutes, 50 seconds into the flight."

[Paul Haney is apparently commenting here on Schirra's relatively normal heart rate. Other astronauts had rates well over 100 at launch throughout the Apollo program with Neil Armstrong, for example, recording a high of 110 during the Apollo 11 launch.]
000:04:28 Swigert: Roger. Copy that.

000:04:31 Schirra: It's right on 1g. [Long Pause.]

[Schirra is referring to the vehicle's acceleration, or g-load, 1g being equivalent to the normal force of gravity. The crew experienced g-loads of up to 4.28g just prior to S-IB inboard engine cutoff.]
Public Affairs Officer - "Flight Director's polling all his stations here and is getting enthusiastic Gos at every console. Five minutes into the flight."

000:05:02 Eisele: Spacecraft guidance is Go.

[The Flight Plan calls for a specific member of the crew to give a "Go" call at every minute from the fourth through the ninth minutes of the flight.]
000:05:03 Swigert: Roger. You're looking real good. You're right on.
[Eisele, from the 1968 Technical Debriefing: "I knew the computer was good, and I had the little card up there with velocities vs H-dot. We were coming right up the slot, right up the groove..."]
000:05:07 Eisele: Roger. [Long Pause.]

Public Affairs Officer - "And we've heard from Don Eisele; reported the spacecraft guidance Go. 90 miles [167 km] altitude now. Nearly 250 miles [463 km] downrange at 5 minutes and 25 seconds into the flight. The guidance tracks are exactly overlays here in the Control Center. That is the plan versus the actual."

000:05:51 Swigert: You're looking real fine, Apollo 7.

000:05:52 Schirra: Roger. She's riding like a dream.

Public Affairs Officer - "Wally says she's riding like a dream at 5 minutes, 58 seconds into the flight."

Public Affairs Officer - "Six minutes."

000:06:00 Schirra: Six minutes, and we're really going.

000:06:04 Swigert: Roger.

000:06:05 Eisele: This center-window view is sensational.

000:06:09 Swigert: You mean you finally got to look after the BPC went?

000:06:10 Eisele: Man, that was a real fine...

000:06:18 Eisele: You'd think they raised a whole circus tent in front of us.

[The BPC, or Boost Protective Cover, was installed over the Command Module to protect it from the main and the jettison motor rocket exhaust gasses. As it is attached to the escape tower, the BPC leaves when the latter is jettisoned, improving the view out the windows considerably.]
Public Affairs Officer - "Six minutes, 20 seconds. Flight reports everything is right on track."

000:06:21 Swigert: Roger. [Pause.]

Public Affairs Officer - "Mark 6 minutes, 30 seconds; where the trajectory now is beginning to level out at nearly 110 miles [204 km] altitude and we are coming up nearly 400 miles [740 km] out over the Atlantic Ocean."

000:06:32 Unknown: Kind of dark on top, isn't it? [Pause.]

000:06:48 Swigert: You're right on the old button.

Public Affairs Officer - "Capcom Jack Swigert here in Houston reassures the crew that, 'You're right on the old button' and the communications are so clear it sounds like the crew is working from the simulator."

000:06:51 Schirra: Very good. [Pause.]

000:06:58 Cunningham: Apollo 7 is Go at 7 minutes and [garble] Omni D [at this time.]

Public Affairs Officer - "And we just had our first report from Walt Cunningham in the right seat reporting on the antennas. Seven minute, 5 seconds into the flight."

000:07:06 Swigert: You cut out there, Walt. Say again?

[Cunningham reports completion of the scheduled switch to S-band Omni antenna D (Delta). Four flush mounted antennas were installed on the Command Module at 90 degree intervals to provide S-band reception regardless of the spacecraft's orientation. The switch is performed at this point to provide optimum communications to and from the Bermuda tracking station. Communications are poor at this point due to a bad receiver at Bermuda.]

Antenna locations are shown here. Note that the steerable high gain S-band antenna was not installed for the Apollo 7 mission.

000:07:08 Cunningham: [Garble].

000:07:22 Cunningham: [Garble].

000:07:24 Swigert: You're kind of garbled, Walt.

Public Affairs Officer - "His communication was not quite as clean as that from Eisele and Schirra but quite readable. Seven minutes, 30 seconds into the flight."

000:07:29 Swigert: Apollo 7, Houston. How do you read?

000:07:32 Cunningham: Seven loud and clear. How me?

000:07:34 Swigert: You're coming in very garbled.

000:07:38 Eisele: Roger [garble].

000:07:41 Swigert: You're also garbled, Donn. I can make it out; you're right on the button, right on the mark; you're looking good.

Public Affairs Officer - "Seven minutes, 45 seconds into the flight."

000:07:47 Eisele: Okay [garble]. [Long Pause.]

000:08:05 Eisele: Eight minutes and guidance is Go.

000:08:08 Swigert: Okay. Copy guidance Go. We copy step press and PU shift.

[The S-IVB PU (propellant utilization) system changes the fuel to oxidizer mixture ratio in an effort to ensure as little propellant remains in the tanks as possible at shut-down.]
Public Affairs Officer - "And the crew reports the guidance - Don Eisele reports the guidance is Go at 8 minutes. We are 8 minutes, 15 seconds."

000:08:18 Schirra: [Garble].

000:08:20 Swigert: You're very garbled, 7. I'll just keep talking to you; you're looking real fine.

000:08:29 Schirra: [Garble] bumpy road, very, very [garble].

000:08:32 Swigert: [Garble]. [Long Pause.]

Public Affairs Officer - "We are predicting a cut off time at 10 minutes plus 16 seconds, plus 16 seconds I believe. Eight minutes, 40 seconds now; the trajectory has flattened out at about 125 nautical miles [232 km] and we're 800 miles [1,480 km] downrange."

000:08:59 Swigert: You're looking real good, Apollo 7.

Public Affairs Officer - The communication in the last minute has gotten somewhat gravelly, not nearly as clean as it was in the early part."

000:09:03 Schirra: Roger, we're Go for orbit at 9 minutes.

Public Affairs Officer - "And Schirra at 9 minutes reports we're Go for orbit."

000:09:06 Swigert: Roger. Copy. [Long Pause.]

000:09:16 Schirra: [Garble].

000:09:20 Swigert: I couldn't make it out, Wally, but you're looking real good.

000:09:23 Schirra: [Garble]. [Pause.]

Public Affairs Officer - "Control Center here is considering shifting the comm loop to the Vanguard Ship which is parked out south of Bermuda somewhere mid-Atlantic. The communications are still quite good. They were just extraordinary through the first 6 minutes of flight. At 9 minutes, 30 seconds into the flight, all systems are in excellent shape. We are now predicting shut down at 10 minutes and 20 seconds; 10 minutes, 20 seconds into the flight. We are now coming up on our mark 10 minutes into the flight. Mark; 10 minutes."

[The Manned Space Flight Tracking Network for Apollo 7 consists of 14 ground stations, four instrumented ships, and five instrumented aircraft. The ships; USNS Vanguard, Redstone, Mercury, and Huntsville; were deployed in support of the Apollo 7 mission. The Vanguard is positioned about 1,000 miles east of Bermuda (32.7°N, 48°W) and assists that station in covering orbital insertion. The ships Redstone and Mercury serve as orbital gap fillers, with Redstone positioned about 3,600 miles south of Los Angeles (25°S, 118°W), and Mercury located some 90 miles east of Taiwan (25°N, 125°E). The primary function of the Huntsville is to cover the de-orbit burn phase of re-entry. For other parts of the mission, Huntsville will be used for unified S-band telemetry receive and record and astronaut-ground voice remoting. This ship is situated about 1,200 miles west of Los Angeles (25°N, 136°W).]
000:09:34 Swigert: Apollo 7, Houston. Your trajectory and CMC [Command Module Computer] are Go.

000:09:39 Schirra: Beautiful. Roger.

000:09:44 Swigert: We have a predicted SECO [Sustainer Engine Cut-Off] of 10 plus 20, 10 plus 20.

000:09:54 Swigert: Mark. Mode IV, Mode IV. [Long Pause.]

[The spacecraft enters the region of abort Mode IV. From the Saturn IB Flight Manual: "In abort Mode IV, the SPS engine can be used to make up for a deficiency in insertion velocity up to approximately 1,300 feet per second [400 m/s]. This is accomplished by holding the CSM in an inertial attitude and applying the needed Delta-V with the SPS to acquire the acceptable orbital velocity. If there is no communication with MCC, the crew can take over manual control and maneuver the vehicle using onboard data."]
000:10:08 Swigert: Omni Delta, Apollo 7. [Long Pause.]
[Flight controllers at Mission Control request verification that S-band Omni Antenna D is selected in an effort to clear up communications. The last few calls from the ground were not heard onboard the spacecraft.]
[Schirra, from the 1968 Technical Debriefing: "We had all the comm we needed. Comm was sufficient but for the lack of the Mode 4 call out. That would have been critical if we had an early SECO and didn't know it... Insertion comm was not Go."]
[Cunningham, from 2012 correspondence with Journal contributor Dave Hardin, "Comm was no significant problem at any time. I believe we were unable to contact ground coverage about 4% of the time. Now it is [good] virtually 100%."]
Public Affairs Officer - "10 minutes, 10 seconds."

000:10:19 Schirra: SECO!

[Schirra reports SECO, or Sustainer Engine Cut-Off, to the ground as the S-IVB shuts down having placed the spacecraft in orbit. The g loads on the crew went from 2.56g to zero in an instant, something commented on momentarily by Donn Eisele.]
000:10:22 Swigert: Roger. Copy.

000:10:26 Schirra: How do like that [garble].

000:10:28 Eisele: Man, it felt like something shooting me clean out of the seat.

Public Affairs Officer - "And - we got a cut-off that sounded to me like at about 10 minutes, 19 seconds. Schirra confirmed it. And Eisele noted that it felt a little different than when they were on the booster; when that cut off came through. They will remain attached to the S-IVB that second stage and they will be given a Go to stay in the planned configuration, attached to the second stage for perhaps - nearly 3 hours."

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