With the world anxiously watching, Apollo 13, a U.S. lunar spacecraft that suffered a severe malfunction on its journey to the moon, safely returns to Earth on April 17, 1970. On April 11, the third manned lunar landing mission was launched from Florida, carrying astronauts James A.
The change would get Apollo 13 back to Earth in about four days' time – though with splashdown in the Indian Ocean, where NASA had few recovery forces.
All three took refuge in Aquarius and, abandoning Moon landing plans, looped around the Moon, using the LM's engine to speed their return to Earth instead of landing them on the lunar surface.
It's the story of the engine that brought those astronauts home, and the chemist who invented it. On April 13, 1970, Gerard Elverum's pintle injector rocket engine fired for 34 seconds to put the damaged Apollo 13 spacecraft on a safe path back to Earth.
They returned to Earth and splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on July 24 after more than eight days in space. Armstrong's first step onto the lunar surface was broadcast on live TV to a worldwide audience. He described the event as "one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind."
Apollo 13 was NASA's third moon-landing mission, but the astronauts never made it to the lunar surface. During the mission's dramatic series of events, an oxygen tank explosion almost 56 hours into the flight forced the crew to abandon all thoughts of reaching the moon.
The command module of Apollo 13 entered Earth's atmosphere and splashed down on target on April 17 at 1:07 PM Eastern Standard Time. The mission has been referred to as a successful failure, in that all the crew members survived a catastrophic accident.
Two of the three astronauts (Lovell and Haise) are still alive today. Sadly, Swigert died in 1982 due to complications from cancer in 1982.
the fire that killed Apollo 1 astronauts Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, Edward H. White, and Roger B. Chaffee.
For the Apollo 13 mission, the blackout was much longer than normal because the flight path of the spacecraft was unexpectedly at a much shallower angle than normal.
The astronauts and mission control were faced with enormous logistical problems in stabilizing the spacecraft and its oxygen supply, as well as running on batteries due to the loss of the fuel cells to allow successful reentry into Earth's atmosphere.
3.5 Apollo 13
During the second period, the Commander, Command Module Pilot, and Lunar Module Pilot slept 5, 6, and 9 hours, respectively. The third sleep period was scheduled for 61 hours, but the orygen tank incident at 56 hours precluded sleep by any of the crew until approximately 80 hours.
An explosion 56 hours into the mission happened before the command module and lunar module had separated, so the crew were able to use the intact lunar module as a lifeboat with its own power sources, rockets and oxygen supply.
During the Apollo 13 mission, the LM environmental control system provided a habitable environment for about 83 hours (57:45 to 141:05 GET). Cabin temperature remained low due to low electrical power levels. This caused crew discomfort during much of this period, with cabin temperatures ranging between 49°F and 55 °F.
The Apollo 13 malfunction was caused by an explosion and rupture of oxygen tank no. 2 in the service module.
The TLI placed Apollo on a "free-return trajectory" - often illustrated as a figure of eight shape. This course would have harnessed the power of the Moon's gravity to propel the spacecraft back to Earth without the need for more rocket fuel.
Mattingly had been scheduled to fly on the Apollo 13 mission, but three days prior to launch, he was held back and replaced by Jack Swigert due to exposure to German measles (which Mattingly did not contract).
Walter Cunningham, the last surviving astronaut from the first successful crewed space mission in NASA's Apollo program, died Tuesday in Houston.
Once it finally did (6 hours after the accident), it took and an hour and a half for the bodies of Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee to be recovered from the burned out husk of Apollo 1. The heat of the fire had fused the astronauts to the cabin's nylon interior. The official cause of death was asphyxiation.
Twelve men walked on the Moon during six Moon landings of the Apollo program between July 1969 and December 1972. All landed on the surface only once, and five missions consisted of two or more surface EVAs. Four of them are alive as of January 2023.
Four of America's moonwalkers are still alive: Aldrin (Apollo 11), David Scott (Apollo 15), Charles Duke (Apollo 16), and Harrison Schmitt (Apollo 17).
The LM was jettisoned shortly before reaching Earth, the astronauts returning to the Command Module for the reentry. The LM re-entered and burned in the Earth's atmosphere over the southwest Pacific, any surviving pieces impacted in the deep ocean off the coast of New Zealand.
The O2 tanks were stirred in order to get an accurate reading on the gauging systems, as the cryogenic oxygen tends to solidify in the tanks, and stirring allows for a more accurate reading on the quantity of O2 remaining in the tank. But this was not the first time the crew had been ordered to stir the tank.
Haise, along with commander Jim Lovell, was supposed to walk on the moon during Apollo 13. That all changed on April 13, 1970, when an oxygen tank exploded and badly damaged the command module, Odyssey.