Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Did You Know Tuesday

Did you know that it was forty years ago today (April 13, 1970) that NASA’s Apollo 13 almost met its fate when an oxygen tank ruptured, the craft lost power and the three astronauts on-board had to make it back to Earth using a gravitational-slingshot maneuver around the Moon? Commander Jack Lovell, Jack Swiger and Fred Haise were able to move to the command module and make this amazing trajectory happen and were able to return to Earth four days later. The problem was later determined to have been caused by an electrical system problem that caused the pressure in the ship’s oxygen tanks to increase and rupture the tanks. Losing oxygen, the men had little time and their survival appeared doubtful.

l to r: Jim Lovell, Jack Swiger, Fred Haise (photo from www.space.com)

Cancer would take Swiger in 1982, but both Lovell and Haise are still living, as are many of the people who were working on the ground at NASA helping in the process to get these astronauts back to Earth.

This incident was rendered to film by Ron Howard in 1995, Apollo 13. This movie was based on Lovell’s book Lost Moon.

And the actual quote should be: “Houston, we’ve had a problem”



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