Apollo 13 was NASA’s third lunar cruise, but astronauts did not reach the moon’s surface.
During the mission’s critical events, the oxygen tank exploded about 56 hours into the flight that forced the sailors to abandon all thoughts that could reach the moon. The plane crashed, but the pilots were able to find shelter in the lunar module to travel back to Earth, before returning to the command module for a pleasant splashdown.
The mission stands today as an example of the disaster of space travel and the new ideas NASA is working on together to save lives in flight. The Apollo 13 mission celebrated its 50th anniversary on April 11 2020.
Select: Apollo astronauts flying to the moon: Where are they now?
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The Apollo 13 astronauts are led by James Lovell, lunar module pilot Fred Haise, and module pilot John “Jack” Swigert.
In 42, Lovell was the world’s most traveled expedition when he joined the Apollo 13 mission, with three missionaries and 572 flying hours under his belt. Lovell boarded the Apollo 8, the first missionary to orbit the moon, and flew two Gemini missionaries – with a 14 -day endurance flight.
Prior to the Apollo 13 mission, Haise served 36 years as a lunar module pilot for the Apollo 8 and Apollo 11 missions. Haise was a naval pilot in the U.S. Marine Corps prior to joining. to NASA as a test pilot. He was selected for the aerospace program in 1966, at the same time as Swigert. Apollo 13 was Haise’s only flight into space.
Apollo 13 was Swigert’s first flight into space, in the year 38. He became part of the Apollo 7 sponsorship and was the pilot of the Apollo 13 support command. joined the sailors 48 hours before the start after the first commander, Ken Mattingly, was diagnosed with German disease.
Apollo 13: “Houston, we’re in trouble”
Apollo 13 was launched on April 11, 1970. The Apollo spacecraft was made up of two independent spacecraft connected by a tunnel: the Odyssey orbiter, and the Aquarius lander. The sailors on the Odyssey stay on the cruise for a month.
On the evening of April 13, when navigators approached about 322,000 kilometers (200,000 miles) from Earth and nearly the moon, mission pilot Sy Liebergot noticed a low -altitude signal at a hydrogen tank in Odyssey.
The signal may indicate a problem, or indicate that hydrogen needs to be repaired by heating and releasing the gas into the tank. This process is called “cryo stir”, and is intended to stop the supercold gas from settling on the plates.
Select: This amazing 4K video recreates Apollo 13’s catastrophic journey around the moon
Swigert turned the switch over to the standard procedure. Some time later, the whole plane shook. The alarm lights on Odyssey and Mission Control were turned on when the oxygen pressure dropped and power was lost. The sailors told Mission Control, with Swigert famously, “Houston, we’re in trouble.” (Remember the 1995 movie “Apollo 13” that took a development license with the wording, changed it to “Houston, we’re in trouble” and the words came out of the mouth of Apollo 13 CEO James Lovell).
Later, NASA’s disaster research team concluded that the wires were found in the oxygen tank as a result of a combination of performance and fault testing before flight. That fateful night, a fire broke out from a wire exposed in the oxygen tank, tearing an oxygen tank and injuring someone on the plane.
As oxygen is fed to the Odyssey’s fuel cells, power is also reduced. The pilots of the plane, seeing the oxygen being released, tried to stop the plane by firing at the small planes. The system did not work very well because some of the planes were blocked by the bomb.
Fortunately for Apollo 13, the disaster Odyssey has received some medical support: Aquarius, is not expected to wake up until the sailors are about to land on the moon. Haise and Lovell worked hard to secure Aquarius a little longer before the launch. Aquarius did not have a heat shield to survive falling to Earth, so when Lovell and Haise established the lunar module and flew, Swigert stayed in Odyssey to replace its systems maintain control for the splashdown.
Apollo 13’s cold and disastrous journey home
Organizations need to compare the difficulty of returning home with the difficulty of maintaining control over Aquarius. After setting off a large fire to direct the plane to Earth, the pilots destroyed the plane’s faulty systems.
With no heat, the temperature of the house dropped quickly near the ice. Some foods became stale. The sailors set aside water to make sure Aquarius was working – which took longer than planned – enough water to rest his supply. Aquarius is as secure as it is designed to hold two people, not three.
On Earth, aviation director Gene Kranz has pulled his move of pilots from traditional shifts to focusing on conserving users such as water and power. Other missionary teams assisted the family with their day -to -day activities. Aircraft manufacturers worked around the clock to support NASA and the crew.
It was a difficult journey home. The burden of all the sailors was relieved, and Haise contracted the disease of virginity. But the small ship prevented and carried the long -distance sailors to the skies of Earth.
Hours before the splashdown, the fans returned to the Odyssey. The ship was in cold water for days, which could be short, but thanks to the shields put in place after the Apollo 1 disaster, there were no problems.
Lovell, Haise and Swigert were shot dead in the Pacific near Samoa on April 17.
The legacy of Apollo 13
Many design changes were made to the Apollo service system and the missionary command module following the Apollo project. Former missionary Sy Liebergot said in an article by collectSPACE that the changes have taken place:
- An additional cryo oxygen tank that can be detached will only supply the equipment.
- Remove all cryo fittings and wires.
- Remove the thermostats from the cryo boxes, and change the shape of the heat pipe.
- Added to the 400-amp-hour lunar module descent stage battery.
- Attach the water storage bags to the command module.
As for the astronauts, Haise was assigned to lead the 19 -month -old Apollo mission. However, two other missionaries were suspended after NASA’s funding was cut. He flew the Enterprise aircraft on his test flights.
In 1982, Swigert was elected to Congress in his state of Colorado. However, at the time of the announcement, he was diagnosed with bone disease and died before he could be sworn in.
In 1994, Lovell and historian Jeffrey Kluger co -wrote a book about Lovell’s aviation industry that focused on the events of the Apollo 13 mission. The book, “Lost Moon : The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13 “(Houghton Mifflin, 1994), which inspired the 1995 film” Apollo 13, “with actor Tom Hanks. The film won two Academy Awards and was published in collaboration with NASA.
The office allows filmmakers to participate in the 1960s-era Mission Control in Houston to rebuild the system as a set-up, and also to allow “astronauts” to fly aboard the Vomit Comet aircraft. NASA simulates weightlessness. Lovell made a cameo at the end of the film as captain of the USS Iwo Jima; Marilyn Lovell and Gene Kranz created short films, including the Internet Movie Database.
Other personal stories of Apollo 13 missionary Liebergot and David Harland are “Apollo EECOM: Journey of a Lifetime” (Collector’s Guide Publishing, 2003) and Kranz’s “Failure Is Not An Option” (Simon & Schuster, 2000). ). Some non-fiction books also looked at Apollo 13, such as Andrew Chaikin’s “A Man On The Moon” (Penguin Books, 1994), which included interviews with surviving Apollo sailors.
Read more about Apollo in this in -depth article from NASA. Find the “successful” missionary with this virtual show from Space Center Houston. See more great stories from the Apollo missionaries and the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.
“Space is complex – the mission power behind Apollo 13”. April 17. 2020. ESA
Lovell, Jim, and Jeffrey Kluger. Apollo 13. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2006.
Kauffman, James. “A case study: NASA’s crisis talks about Apollo 13.“Social Opinion 27.4 (2001): 437-448.
NASA Apollo 13 Mission Report, 1970.