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'The Successful Failure'
IMAGE: Apollo 13 Crew

MissionApollo XIII
CrewJames Lovell Jr.
John Swigert Jr.
Fred Haise Jr.
Lift OffSaturn V
April 11,1970
2:13 p.m. EST
KSC, Florida
Complex 39-A
April 13,1970
9:08 p.m. EST
April 17,1970
1:07 p.m. EST
Pacific Ocean
Duration5 days, 22 hours,
54 minutes

IMAGE: Apollo 40th anniversary

IMAGE: The Apollo 13 Mission

Apollo 13 was supposed to land in the lunar region of Fra Mauro, but this landing site was later reassigned to Apollo 14.

At 46 hours, 43 minutes mission elapsed time, Joe Kerwin, the CAPCOM on duty, said, "The spacecraft is in real good shape as far as we are concerned. We're bored to tears down here." Nine hours, 12 minutes later, a Service Module oxygen tank blew up aboard Apollo 13. The Command Module's normal supply of electricity, light and water was lost, and they were about 321,869 kilometers (200,000 miles) from Earth.

James Lovell Jr. gasped, "Hey Houston, we've had a problem here." While looking outside, Lovell reported to Houston, "We are venting something out into the- into space". Jack Lousma, the CAPCOM replied, "Roger, we copy you venting." Lovell said, "It's a gas of some sort." It was oxygen gas escaping at a high rate from the second, and last, oxygen tank.

A formidable task ahead for both crew and ground control, plans now changed. The crew moved to the Lunar Module to escape the decreasing air pressure in the Service Module. The crew had to conserve food and water. To get around the Moon and then go home, the Lunar and Command Modules needed to conserve fuel.

Due to debris from the explosion, the navigation system was unreliable. The crew used the Sun as a navigation point to guide the crippled craft back to Earth. While enduring discomfort and little sleep, the crew moved back into the cold Command Module, then ejected both the Lunar and Service Modules. After re-entry, the crew landed safely in the Pacific Ocean almost four days after the explosion.

The Missions

Crew Patch
IMAGE: Apollo 13 crew patch
Related Links
* 40th Anniversary
*The Apollo 13 Mission
*KSC Apollo 13 Site
*Apollo 13 Mission Gallery
* Apollo 13 Lunar Surface Journal

Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: Amiko Kauderer | Updated: 07/02/2009
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