No one could have predicted or trained for the number of issues the crew and mission control faced on the Apollo 13 mission in 1970. The Apollo 13 mission was designated a successful failure because the crew was returned safely even though the odds were stacked against them.
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.
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.
Today is the 50th anniversary of the launch of the Apollo 13 mission that never made it to the moon, the one where Commander Jim Lovell uttered the phrase “Houston, we've had a problem.” NASA calls the mission a “successful failure,” because even though an explosion crippled the primary spacecraft two days in, Lovell ...
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.
The command module was dying, quickly. But the lunar lander, docked to the command module, was intact. Under the direction of Glynn Lunney, the flight director whose shift followed Mr. Kranz's, the Apollo 13 astronauts scrambled into the lunar module, which served as their lifeboat.
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.
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 testing in March 1970, the reinstalled tank failed to properly empty itself of oxygen. The testing team decided to solve this problem by heating the tank overnight to force the liquid oxygen to burn off.
Anthony Kontaratos was truly one of the unsung heroes in the history of NASA, as he was not only the engineer responsible for helping save the crew of the Apollo 13 mission, but also one of the scientists who placed the first man on the moon.
At the outset of the program, NASA had formally established the target probability of overall success for each Apollo mission—a landing and return—at 90 percent. Overall crew safety was estimated at 99.9 percent.
As the Apollo 13 crew re-entered the Earth's atmosphere there was a blackout period where they couldn't communicate with mission control. The blackout period was supposed to last three minutes, but it lasted 90 seconds longer, leaving those at mission control unaware if the crew were going to make it home safely.
the fire that killed Apollo 1 astronauts Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, Edward H. White, and Roger B. Chaffee.
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.
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.
As part of the Apollo 13 mission, Jim Lovell and Fred Haise were scheduled to walk on the Moon, but the lunar landing had to be aborted after an oxygen tank exploded two days later. The Apollo 13 mission did set a record as the farthest humans have ever travelled from Earth.
Two Apollo missions were failures: a 1967 cabin fire killed the entire Apollo 1 crew during a ground test in preparation for what was to be the first crewed flight; and the third landing attempt on Apollo 13 was aborted by an oxygen tank explosion en route to the Moon, which disabled the CSM Odyssey's electrical power ...
Because the command module iced up after powering down, water rained down on the astronauts after they took their seats for re-entry and splashdown. The possibility of a short circuit in the capsule further threatened the crew's chances of returning safely to Earth.
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.
Discussions between the Apollo 13 crew
According to Jim Lovell, there were no discussions or fights, as portrayed in the movie. The most important thing for the crew at that point was to focus on their greatest goal: to return home.
During the Apollo 17 mission, Cernan became the eleventh human being to walk on the Moon. As he re-entered the Apollo Lunar Module after Harrison Schmitt on their third and final lunar excursion, he remains as of 2023, famously: "The last man on the Moon".
Four of America's moonwalkers are still alive: Aldrin (Apollo 11), David Scott (Apollo 15), Charles Duke (Apollo 16), and Harrison Schmitt (Apollo 17).
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.