Just 10 minutes and 28 seconds after liftoff, Apollo 7 attained orbit. The Saturn IB booster - never having before flown manned - did its job flawlessly. All systems were go. America's would-be moon ship was finally airborne.
After reaching orbit, Apollo 7 tested the critical Transposition and Docking maneuver - required on a lunar flight to extract the Lunar Module from the spent Saturn booster. The crew found that the hinged spacecraft adapter panels did not fully spread as had been intended; on later flights these panels would be set to jettison completely.
Over nearly eleven days, Schirra, Eisele, and Cunningham would put their spacecraft through its paces, including critical tests of the Service Propulsion System (SPS) - the rocket motor needed to brake Apollo into lunar orbit, and more importantly, bring our astronauts home from the Moon.
Much rode on this flight. At this point the world did not know that should Apollo 7 be successful, the next flight, Apollo 8, would truly go where no man had gone before...