The final leap

  • Umberto Cavallaro
Part of the Springer Praxis Books book series (PRAXIS)


After the tragic Apollo 1 fire, NASA once again conducted an internal reorganization and began a complex redesign of the Apollo Command and Service Module (CSM). North American Rockwell (NAR) had won the contract to design the Apollo spacecraft, ousting McDonnell, the former producer of Mercury and Gemini, without having previous experience of manned flight in space. NAR, too, would have to undertake some strategic changes, and a new project leader, John P. Healey, was assigned. Under his direction, over 1,300 changes would be implemented on the ‘Block I’ Apollo. Walt Cunningham, a former member of the Apollo 1 backup crew and by now assigned to the Apollo 7 mission, actively participated in the design of the new module. He defined the old spacecraft 012 (as the first Block I was known) as “a piece of junk,” put together in a hurry, “pressed by the Russians breathing down our necks.”


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Umberto Cavallaro
    • 1
  1. 1.Italian Astrophilately SocietyVillarbasseItaly

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