Video: See our full interview with Apollo 7 astronaut Walt Cunningham

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Around NASA and its contractors, the phrase “Return to Flight” contains distinct meaning. It truly is used very critically in very one-of-a-kind instances: a “Return to Flight” mission is a resumption of time-honored scheduled missions after an anomaly or accident. Most not too long ago, the phrase changed into used to seek advice from the 2005 STS-114 and STS-121 shuttle flights, that have been the primary missions to take flight from the Kennedy Area Center following the destruction of Columbia in early 2003. Earlier than that, STS-26 became the “Return to Flight” mission in the aftermath of the Challenger disaster in 1986.

But the good sized granddaddy of Returns to Flight was Apollo 7 in October 1968. Conscious of Kennedy’s give up-of-decade time limit for a lunar landing, NASA’s engineers and astronauts needed to battle through a tricky admixture of the two cautiousness and eagerness—they needed to get again into area as soon as you can still, but they also essential to ensure they weren’t going to kill everybody else. The job of commanding Apollo 7 landed on Mercury veteran Walter “Wally” Schirra and his rookie crew—Donn Eisele and Ronnie Walter Cunningham.

The mission changed into a hit, however none of the three astronauts ever flew back—reportedly as retaliation for some shenanigans throughout the time of the flight (mission commander Schirra changed into suffering a head cold during the mission, and irritability from that coupled with stress over the significance of finishing up the mission safely led to a couple friction between Schirra and NASA management). Lunar Module Pilot Walt Cunningham moved on to a management function at NASA himself, overseeing the Skylab part of the Flight Crew Directorate.

Cunningham changed into a significant interviewee for “The Most efficient Soar,” our Apollo retrospective, and his insight and commentary on the software commonly and the Apollo 1 fire exceptionally have been important to the project. We’re proud to present his unredacted interview, chock-packed with reviews and area stuff that didn’t particularly make it into the major documentary.

Listing photo by way of NASA

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