50 years ago, NASA astronauts prepared to return to space

Excerpt from the June 8, 1968 issue of Science News

Apollo 7 crew

THREE’S COMPANY  Twenty months after the deadly fire on Apollo 1, Apollo 7 and its crew (from left),  Donn F. Eisele, Walter M. Schirra, Jr. and Walter Cunningham, spent nearly 11 days in space, completing 163 orbits of Earth.


Apollo milestone at last

The spacecraft fire that killed three Apollo astronauts and rocked the space agency a year and a half ago is still being felt.… Last week, after a series of delays … a major milestone was finally reached: the first manned tests of an Apollo spacecraft to include all the new equipment and safeguards incorporated since the fire. — Science News, June 8, 1968.


Since that lunar program reboot, hundreds of NASA astronauts have made it to space, and 12 astronauts have walked on the surface of the moon. After NASA retired the U.S. Space Shuttle program in 2011, American astronauts have had to rely on Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft to reach the International Space Station (SN: 6/11/16, p. 4). Once again, U.S. spacecraft, from SpaceX and Boeing, are planned to take American astronauts into space, but delays have pushed those efforts back to late 2019 and 2020.

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