Transcript: Flight of Apollo 7 | Apr 20, 1999

A full-screen caption reads "Apollo 11." Another reads "The Apollo Years."

Man Over Radio says WE COPY YOU DOWN, EAGLE.

Man Over Radio says HOUSTON, TRANQUILLITY BASE
HERE, THE EAGLE HAS LANDED.

Man Over Radio says ROGER, TRANQUILLITY, WE COPY
YOU ON THE GROUND.
YOU GOT A BUNCH OF GUYS ABOUT TO
TURN BLUE, WE'RE BREATHING
AGAIN, THANKS A LOT.

Flames and smoke rise from a nighttime launch.
[Rocket launching]

A split screen shows fire spurting from the base of a rocket and the letters
"U.S.A." on its side as it slowly rises. The red hot booster section ejects.
A three-way split screen shows the rocket ascending, the lander above the
surface of the Moon and an orbital view of the Moon.

John F. Kennedy says WE CHOOSE TO
GO TO THE MOON IN THIS DECADE,
AND DO THE OTHER THINGS, NOT
BECAUSE THEY ARE EASY, BUT
BECAUSE THEY ARE HARD.
[Radio chatter]

A voice says WELCOME TO THE MOON.

Man Over Radio says THANK YOU.
(Astronauts speaking)

Man Over Radio says 10 PERCENT FUEL.
(Astronauts speaking)

Man Over Radio says STAY IN THERE.

Man Over Radio says OK 30 SECONDS.
(Astronauts speaking)

Different clips show the Moon landing. The footprint left on the powdery
Moon surface is prominently displayed. A split-screen caption reads "The
Apollo Years."

A voice says HOUSTON, TRANQUILLITY BASE HERE.
THE EAGLE HAS LANDED.
(Percussion music plays)

With a mock-up of the Moon Landing behind him, Marc Garneau, clean-shaven
in his forties, says HI, AND WELCOME TO
THE APOLLO YEARS.
I'M MARC GARNEAU.
AFTER THE ONE-MAN MERCURY,
AND THE TWO-MAN GEMINI
MISSIONS, NASA NEEDED A NEW,
LARGER CAPSULE THAT COULD
CARRY THREE ASTRONAUTS
TO THE MOON AND BACK.
MANY PEOPLE THOUGHT THAT WAS
FOOLHARDY AND DANGEROUS.
THE APOLLO MISSIONS STARTED
OMINOUSLY WITH THE FIRST
GREAT TRAGEDY OF THE
AMERICAN SPACE EFFORT.
ON JANUARY 27th, 1967, GUS
GRISSOM, ED WHITE, AND ROGER
CHAFFEE, COMMENCED A LAUNCH
REHEARSAL IN APOLLO I.
THEIR CAPSULE SUDDENLY CAUGHT FIRE.
THE THREE MEN WERE DEAD.
THE WORLD WAS IN SHOCK.
I REMEMBER WHAT THE
CHALLENGER DISASTER MEANT
TO A SHUTTLE ASTRONAUT LIKE MYSELF.
I CAN ONLY IMAGINE THE BLOW
TO MORALE THE APOLLO TEAM
MUST HAVE SUFFERED.
APOLLO WAS GROUNDED,
WHILE NASA LAUNCHED A
MASSIVE INVESTIGATION.
20 MONTHS LATER, AFTER A
SERIES OF UNMANNED TEST
FLIGHTS, THEY WERE
FINALLY READY TO GO.
WALLY SCHIRRA, DONN EISELE
AND WALTER CUNNINGHAM, WERE
ABOUT TO BECOME THE FIRST
MEN TO TEST THE APOLLO
SPACECRAFT IN ORBIT
AROUND THE EARTH.
BEFORE THE FATAL APOLLO I
ACCIDENT, GUS GRISSOM SAID,
"IF WE DIE, WE WANT
PEOPLE TO ACCEPT IT.
WE'RE IN A RISKY BUSINESS.
WE HOPE, IF ANYTHING HAPPENS
TO US, IT WILL NOT DELAY
THE PROGRAM.
THE CONQUEST OF SPACE IS
WORTH THE RISK OF LIFE."
FROM THE NASA FILM ARCHIVES,
THE FLIGHT OF APOLLO 7.

The archive clip shows a helicopter pilot looking at a white capsule in the
ocean, surrounded by an orange floater ring. It shows the retrieval of the
astronauts.

The Narrator says DURING A
RAINSTORM, ON THE MORNING
OF OCTOBER 22nd, 1968, IN THE
ATLANTIC OCEAN, THE UNITED
STATES COMPLETED ONE OF ITS
MOST REMARKABLY SUCCESSFUL
TESTS YET OF MAN AND
MACHINE IN SPACE.
BUT THIS WAS ONLY THE ENDING.

Against images of the rescue, a caption reads "The Flight of Apollo 7." A new crew
leaves the Checkout Building and enters the bus that will take them to the launch
pad. The rocket is seen at a distance on its pad and supported by a gantry.

The Narrator continues IT WAS ON A CLEAR MORNING
ALMOST 11 DAYS EARLIER, AT
THE KENNEDY SPACE CENTER'S
LAUNCH PAD 34 IN FLORIDA
THAT WE WITNESSED THE
BEGINNING OF THE FIRST
MANNED MISSION IN THE
UNITED STATES APOLLO PROGRAM
TO LAND ASTRONAUTS
ON THE MOON.
THE PURPOSE OF THE FLIGHT
OF APOLLO 7 COULD BE STATED
VERY SIMPLY...
PROVE THAT THE SPACECRAFT
COMMAND AND SERVICE MODULES
WOULD FUNCTION PROPERLY IN
SPACE, LONG ENOUGH TO CARRY
MAN TO THE MOON AND BACK.
ACCOMPLISHING THIS WAS
CONSIDERABLY LESS SIMPLE.
IT MEANT SHOWING THAT A BRAND
NEW SPACECRAFT, FAR MORE
COMPLICATED THAN ITS
PREDECESSORS, WOULD OPERATE
SO WELL IT COULD BE TRUSTED
TO TAKE MEN WELL BEYOND
NEAR-EARTH ORBIT.
THE ASTRONAUTS WERE
SPACECRAFT COMMANDER
WALTER SCHIRRA AND
PILOTS DONN EISELE AND
WALTER CUNNINGHAM.
THE KENNEDY SPACE CENTER
HAD SPENT LONG DAYS IN
PREPARATION AND CHECK OUT,
WORKING TOWARD A LAUNCH
TIME WHICH HAD BEEN
SET FOR MONTHS.
IT WAS NOT BY CHANCE THAT
APOLLO 7 LIFTED OFF ONLY TWO
AND THREE-QUARTER MINUTES
AFTER THE APPOINTED MOMENT.
A Man says FIVE, FOUR, IGNITION...

The rocket engines ignite, the rocket trembles slightly and the support arms
detach as it lifts off, rising vertically and slowly gaining speed, in a
cloud of fire and smoke.
[whooshing]
[roaring]

The Narrator continues THE MARSHALL SPACE FLIGHT
CENTER HAD SPENT YEARS
DIRECTING DEVELOPMENT AND
TESTING OF THE SATURN 1 B
LAUNCH VEHICLE.
AND IT WAS NOT BY CHANCE
THAT APOLLO 7 WAS PLACED
ALMOST EXACTLY ON ITS
PLANNED TRAJECTORY INTO
ORBIT ABOVE THE EARTH.

A busy Mission Control Room is seen as the rocket settles into its orbit.

The Narrator continues VERY EARLY IN THE FLIGHT,
THE GENERAL PATTERN OF "GO."
FOR APOLLO 7 WAS
ESTABLISHED IN A
CONVERSATION BETWEEN THE
SPACECRAFT AND MISSION
CONTROL AT THE MANNED
SPACECRAFT CENTER IN
HOUSTON, TEXAS.

A Man says RIGHT ON THE OLD BUTTON.

A Man says FLIGHT BOOSTER.

A Man says YEAH.

A Man says WE APPEAR WE MAY BE
SLIGHTLY MARGINAL ON (indistinct)

The spaceship ejects its booster rocket. Then it fires its own three rocket
engines and moves away. A clip shows orvital views of the Earth.

A Man says OKAY, STAND BACK.
BEAUTIFUL. GO.

A Mission Control voice says 25, 5-5-3, H DOT
IS MINUS FOUR BALLS 1.

The Narrator continues APOLLO 7 WAS ALSO GO FOR AN
EXHAUSTIVE SERIES OF TESTS
OF ITS WORTHINESS IN SPACE.
ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS
WHICH HAD TO BE LEARNED WAS
WHETHER THE ASTRONAUTS
COULD CONTROL THE
SPACECRAFT, COMBINED WITH
THE S-IVB SATURN STAGE.
A VERY SIMILAR THING WOULD
HAVE TO BE DONE DURING THE
EARLY PHASES OF
A LUNAR MISSION.
THE ANSWER WAS NOT
LONG IN COMING.

In Mission Control, a Man says THREE, TWO, ONE, MARK.
TEST COMPLETE.

The Narrator says NEXT, THE SPACECRAFT,
AND S-4B STAGE WERE SEPARATED.

An animated model shows this happening. Then the spacecraft makes a 180
degree turn.

The Narrator continues THE QUESTION NOW WAS WHETHER
THE ASTRONAUTS COULD TURN
THEIR SPACECRAFT AROUND AND
CONTROL IT TO THE DEGREE
REQUIRED FOR FUTURE PHYSICAL
LINK-UPS WITH EQUIPMENT IN SPACE.
FOR THIS, TOO, WOULD HAVE TO
BE DONE IN A LUNAR FLIGHT.
AND, AGAIN, THE
ANSWER WAS YES.

An orbital view shows the burnt out last stage of the rocket with its four panels
open.

The Narrator continues SOMETHING THAT WILL NOT BE
SEEN IN THE LUNAR FLIGHT, OR
IN ANY OTHER FORTHCOMING
APOLLO MISSION, WERE THE
PANELS AT THE TOP
OF THE S-4B STAGE.
THEY WILL SIMPLY BE
JETTISONED IN THE FUTURE.
BUT THEY DREW
COMMENT IN APOLLO 7.

A voice from Mission Control says AND THE PANEL AT THE TOP,
LEFT AND BOTTOM, ARE OPENED
AT I WOULD GUESS TO BE
ABOUT A 45-DEGREE ANGLE,
AND THE SMALL PANEL ON THE
RIGHT WAS JUST OPENED
MAYBE 30 DEGREES.
(Beeping)

The Narrator says APOLLO 7 ESCORTED
ITS SPENT S-IVB STAGE
THROUGH SPACE FOR PERHAPS
30 MINUTES, THEN DEPARTED.
THE FOLLOWING DAY, APOLLO
7 BURNED ITS SPACECRAFT
PROPULSION SYSTEM FOR THE
FIRST TWO TIMES IN THE
MISSION, AND RETURNED TO ITS
FOUR JAWED ALLIGATOR, WHICH
WAS NOW ANGRIER THAN EVER.

The spent last stage is seen with its panels fully extended.

Mission Control says APOLLO 7, HOUSTON... HOW
CLOSE ARE YOU NOW?

An Astronaut says PRETTY CLOSE.
OH, ABOUT 70 FEET.
IT'S TUMBLING RATHER
WILDLY, SO IT'S BEST
TO STAY AWAY FROM IT.

Mission Control says ROGER.
WE COPY THAT.

The Narrator says IN THIS MANEUVER,
APOLLO 7 HAD ACCOMPLISHED
THE FIRST RENDEZVOUS OF THE
PROGRAM, AND IN SO DOING,
HAD PROVEN CAPABLE OF
MEETING STILL ANOTHER
REQUIREMENT FOR LUNAR FLIGHT.

A Voice says 1618, PLUS 1221.

The Narrator says THEN, AS WE WERE
TO SEE IN SOME OF THE MOST
DRAMATIC FILM EVER RETURNED
FROM SPACE, THE CREW WOULD
SETTLE DOWN TO A WEIGHTLESS
LIFE IN A SPACECRAFT WITH
FOUR TIMES MORE
ROOM THAN GEMINI.

The crew float through the narrow hatches of the spacecraft.

The Narrator continues THERE WOULD BE A HOST OF
OTHER TESTS, UNDER A HOST
OF OTHER CONDITIONS.
THE EQUIPMENT AND SYSTEMS
REQUIRED TO SUSTAIN MEN'S
LIVES, TO GUIDE AND CONTROL
AND PROPEL THE SPACESHIP,
TO PROVIDE ELECTRIC POWER,
TO COMMUNICATE WITH THOSE
ON EARTH, WOULD TIME AND
AGAIN PROVE THEIR METTLE.
THE PROPULSION SYSTEM, FOR
EXAMPLE, WAS BURNED EIGHT
TIMES, AND IT BEHAVED
PERFECTLY EVERY TIME.

The crew are shown at work. Then a telescope view from the spaceship shows
little luminous globs flying past what are obviously stars in the
background. A speeded-motion clip shows the changing view of Earth from
orbit.

The Narrator continues THE CREW WORKED WITH A
TELESCOPE AND A SEXTANT,
TAKING LANDMARK AND STAR
SIGHTINGS FOR NAVIGATION,
AS WILL BE REQUIRED
FOR LUNAR FLIGHT.
AND THEY DISCOVERED, ON
OCCASION, THAT WATER
PARTICLES, WHICH HAD BEEN
DUMPED OVERBOARD, COULD BE
CONFUSED WITH STARS.
CARE WILL HAVE TO BE TAKEN
TO AVOID THIS CONFUSION ON
FUTURE FLIGHTS.
ALL IN ALL, THOUGH, PROBLEMS
WERE MINOR AND GENERALLY
WERE READILY
OVERCOME OR SOLVED.
THE SPACECRAFT ALMOST SEEMED
TO GROW STRONGER AS THE
DAYS WENT BY.
BUT APOLLO 7 WAS AS MUCH A
TEST OF MAN AS OF MACHINE.
AND HUMAN ERRORS WERE
NOT TAKEN LIGHTLY.

Mission Control says APOLLO 7, HOUSTON, WE
ACKNOWLEDGE THE ERROR
ON THE GROUND HERE.

An Astronaut says OKAY, GROUND,
GET TO WORK.

The Narrator says THE ERROR HAD LED
TO AN INTERRUPTION OF A
SLEEP PERIOD FOR THE
ASTRONAUTS, WHO WERE
UNDERSTANDABLY IRRITATED
AFTER DAYS OF HARD WORK.
IT WAS IMPERATIVE THAT THIS
SITUATION BE REMEDIED.
[garbled transmissions]

A Voice says HOUSTON, WE UNDERSTAND.

The Narrator says THERE WERE ALSO
THOSE PROBLEMS TO WHICH MAN
IS SUSCEPTIBLE BUT CANNOT
CONTROL, LIKE THE COMMON COLD.

Donn Eisele says VERY GOOD.
I'VE GOT A COUPLE OF
SMALL ITEMS FOR YOU.
WALLY TOOK A COUPLE OF
ACTIFEDS, WALT TOOK ONE
ACTIFED ONLY. HE FEELS FINE.
HE'S JUST GOT A LITTLE
STUFFY HEAD COLD.
AND I TOOK SOME NOSE GREASE
IN MINE 'COS MY NOSTRILS ARE
A LITTLE DRY.
BESIDES, IT SMELLS GOOD.

The Narrator says AS THE COLD SPREAD
TO ALL THREE ASTRONAUTS,
DOCTORS FEARED THERE MIGHT
BE DISCOMFORT, EVEN PAIN
WITH EARDRUMS AS PRESSURE
INCREASED DURING REENTRY.
THE ASTRONAUTS WERE ABLE
TO COPE WITH THE PROBLEM,
HOWEVER, BY TAKING
DECONGESTANTS, AND HOLDING
THEIR NOSES AND BLOWING TO
EQUALIZE REENTRY PRESSURES.
ALWAYS BEFORE WE'VE HAD
TO BE CONTENT WITH MERELY
LISTENING TO OUR ASTRONAUTS
DURING THEIR FLIGHTS.

Televised images show the astronauts at work.

The Narrator continues IN APOLLO 7, THROUGH THE
MEDIUM OF TELEVISION, WE
COULD ACTUALLY SEE THEM IN
SPACE FOR THE FIRST TIME
AND BECOME BETTER
ACQUAINTED WITH WEIGHTLESS
LIFE ABOARD A SPACECRAFT.

Mission Control says IF YOU PICK
UP, I CAN READ IT.
JUST A MINUTE.
IT SAYS FROM THAT...
LOVELY APOLLO SOMETHING.
YOU GUYS SHOULD WRITE...

Cunningham says APOLLO ROOM.
HIGH ATOP EVERYTHING.

Mission Control says LOOKS GOOD.
I CAN SEE WALLY HANDLING
IT NOW, DONN HAS A SMILE
ON HIS FACE.
AND THERE'S WALT.
OKAY, WHAT'S THE NEXT ONE?
LITTLE CLOSER, WALLY.
SAYS, KEEP THOSE
CARDS COMING.

Cunningham says CARDS
AND LETTERS COMING.

Mission control says KEEP THEM
COMING, FOLKS.
LOUD AND CLEAR.
ROGER, GOOD MORNING TO
EVERYONE IN TELEVISION LAND.
YOU'RE LOOKING AT THE RIGHT
HAND PORTION OF THE MAIN
DISPLAY CONSOLE.
IN THE UPPER LEFT-HAND
PORTION OF YOUR VIEW YOU
WOULD SEE THE INSTRUMENTS
THAT HAVE TO DO WITH THE
CRYOGENICS THAT ARE USED
TO POWER THE FUEL CELLS AND
PROVIDE BREATHING OXYGEN
IN THE SPACECRAFT.

The Narrator says AS THE FLIGHT OF
APOLLO 7 PROCEEDED DAY BY
DAY, CONFIDENCE IN MEN
AND EQUIPMENT GREW.
THE ASTRONAUTS BECAME
ACCUSTOMED TO THEIR HOME
HIGH ATOP EVERYTHING.
THEY HAD A CHANCE TO
EVALUATE IT AS A PLACE TO
LIVE AND WORK IN SPACE.

They work and sling items playfully at each other

An Astronaut says IS THAT ALL?

The Narrator says THERE WAS A CHANCE
TO PHOTOGRAPH AREAS OF THE
EARTH NOT PREVIOUSLY
PICTURED FROM SPACE.
FOR EXAMPLE, THE COAST
OF CHILE, AND THE ANDES
MOUNTAIN RANGE.

The photos appear.

The Narrator continues THE CREW COULD EVALUATE SUCH
THINGS AS THE IMPORTANCE
OF EXERCISING...
THE QUALITY OF
SLEEPING ARRANGEMENTS,
THE PALATABILITY OF FOOD.
SEEMINGLY SMALL ITEMS,
BUT THINGS OF ESSENTIAL
IMPORTANCE IN A
LUNAR MISSION.
THEY EVEN RECORDED THE
PREPARATION OF A DRINK
FOR A MEAL.

They prepare the drink in a white plastic container.

Mission Control says WE HAVE
TOM AT AUSTRALIA.

The Narrator says BY THE TIME APOLLO
7 ENTERED ITS 11th DAY IN
SPACE, IT HAD EXCEEDED THE
TIME REQUIRED FOR A FLIGHT
TO THE MOON AND BACK.
IT WAS ALSO WELL ON ITS
WAY TO ACCOMPLISHING ALL
PLANNED OBJECTIVES, AND MORE.
APOLLO 7 WAS CALLED 101
PERCENT SUCCESSFUL.
ON THE MORNING OF OCTOBER
22nd, 1968, APOLLO 7 BEGAN
ITS FINAL REVOLUTION, THE 163rd.
AT APPROXIMATELY 259 HOURS
AND 39 MINUTES AFTER LIFTOFF,
THE SPACECRAFT PROPULSION
SYSTEM WAS BURNED FOR
THE FINAL TIME, AND APOLLO
7 HEADED HOME TO EARTH.
FROM A MOTION PICTURE FILM
RECORDED DURING AN EARLIER
UNMANNED APOLLO MISSION, WE
GET SOME IDEA WHAT THE TRIP
BACK THROUGH THE ATMOSPHERE WAS LIKE.

Through a hatch at the back, the engine burns and the view of Earth spins
and gives way to one of space, as the capsule enters the atmosphere. Naval
cadets stand at attention on the deck of a carrier as the astronauts walk by.

The Narrator continues IN LESS THAN AN HOUR AFTER
TOUCHDOWN IN THE ATLANTIC
OCEAN, THE FLIGHT CREW
EMERGED FROM HELICOPTERS
WHICH HAD BROUGHT THEM
TO THE RECOVERY SHIP THE
CARRIER, U.S.S. ESSEX.
(Band music plays)

A Reporter says AND THE NEXT MANNED APOLLO
FLIGHT CAN BE UNDERTAKEN
WITH CONFIDENCE THAT OUR
BRAND NEW SPACECRAFT IS, AS
COMMANDER WALTER SCHIRRA
REPORTED, 'A MAGNIFICENT
FLYING MACHINE'.

The N.A.S.A. logo briefly appears.
[music plays]

a full-screen caption reads "Next Time,,, Apollo 8. The Apollo Years."

A Man says APOLLO 8 COMING TO
YOU LIVE FROM THE MOON.
THE MOON IS A DIFFERENT
THING TO EACH ONE OF US.
I KNOW MY OWN IMPRESSION IS
THAT IT'S A VAST, LONELY,
FORBIDDING-TYPE EXISTENCE,
OR EXPERIENCE OF NOTHING.

Against a shoe making the famous footprint on the powdery surface of the
Moon, with a caption reading "the Apollo Years" the end credits roll.
(Theme music plays)

Executive Producer, Rudy Buttignol.

Producer, Murray Battle.

Host, Marc Garneau

Editor, Michael Morningstar.

Footage courtesy of Johnson Space Center Jet Propulsion Lab.

Deep Space. TV Ontario 2004.

Canadian Space Agency and York University.

A Man says WE LEAVE AS WE CAME,
AND GOD WILLING, AS WE SHALL
RETURN, WITH PEACE AND
HOPE, FOR ALL MANKIND.
Houston says GODSPEED THE
CREW OF APOLLO 17.
Astronaut says WHAT A RIDE.
WHAT A RIDE.
(Beeping)

The return module rises from the surface of the Moon.

Man Over Radio says WE'RE ARRIVED.
WE'RE ARRIVED.
[Beep]

A Production of TV Ontario. 1997.

Watch: Flight of Apollo 7