On the 50th anniversary of its launch, Apollo 7 isn’t well remembered — but it continues to hold lessons for NASA today.
The Apollo 7 spacecraft launched aboard the Saturn Launch Vehicle on October 11, 1968. Copyright @ PLANES+ROCKETS
Copyright @ PLANES+ROCKETSNASA
Fifty years ago, three people took a new spacecraft for a spin around Earth. It performed nearly flawlessly — so well that on the next mission, NASA decided to send people all the way to the moon. While Apollo 7 isn’t well remembered, it was a crucial mission, one that helped NASA build confidence for its moon landings.
The mission still holds lessons for the International Space Station today, as NASA focuses on running its missions smoothly and safely while keeping an eye on astronaut health in space. The agency now has strict rules about quarantine, sleep periods, food, and exercise to make sure that astronauts have the best chance of staying healthy in space. Those rules came in large part due to the lessons learned during Apollo, when crews were disrupted or broken up because astronauts developed illnesses.
Apollo 7 launched on Oct. 11, 1968. NASA and the Soviet Union were engaged in a race to send humans to the moon, because