APOLLO 13A successful FAILURE

Apollo 13 was to be the 3rd lunar landing, however the mission was aborted after ~ the organization Module ruptured as result of a break down in one oxygen tank. Still, Apollo 13 is taken into consideration a "successful failure" since of the experience acquired in rescuing the crew.

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See historic Apollo 13 artefacts in human being in our new exhibit “Apollo 13: failure is no an option” currently on display.

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The Apollo 13 mission introduced April 11, 1970. The crew had Commander Jim Lovell, Command Module Pilot Jack Swigert, and also Lunar Module Pilot Fred Haise. The command module was named Odyssey, and the lunar module was named Aquarius.

The trip to the Moon from planet took about three days. The Apollo 13 flight was looking like the smoothest flight of the program. Two days into the mission, Joe Kerwin, the capsule communicator (CAPCOM) top top duty, suggested the spacecraft was in an excellent shape and also even joked about boredom.


Fifty-five hours and 46 minutes after the mission started, the Apollo 13 crew perfect a TV broadcast, and Commander Jim Lovell wished viewers a great evening. A couple of minutes later, mission manage asked the crew to activate a regimen stir in the oxygen tanks in the business Module (SM).

Houston, we"ve had actually a trouble ...

Apollo 13 astronauts heard a loud bang. Command Module Pilot Jack Swigert witnessed a warning light and said, "Houston, we"ve had actually a difficulty ..." added warning lights shown the loss of two of three fuel cells, which were the spacecraft"s prime resource of electricity.

Commander Jim Lovell report gas venting native the spacecraft. One oxygen tank showed up to be completely empty, and also the 2nd tank was conveniently draining.


The fuel cells produced the Command and also Service Module"s power by combining oxygen and also hydrogen. When the oxygen tank ran dry, the continuing to be fuel cell shut down, leaving just the Command Module’s (CM) limited-duration battery power. The crew was around 200,000 mile from Earth, and also the CM’s common supply that electricity and water to be lost. The mission"s goal became simply to get the astronauts back to planet safely.

About an hour after the explosion, it came to be clear cm Odyssey necessary to it is in shut down, saving the minimal power it had left because that reentry into Earth’s atmosphere. There to be no procedure to shut down the CM, for this reason ground controllers in Houston wrote totally new procedures and tested them in the simulator prior to sending the instructions to the crew in space.


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Once the Command Module was shut down, the Apollo 13 crew moved right into the Lunar Module (LM). The crew take it inventory the the consumables they required to get earlier to Earth. The LM had a 45-hour life time that required to be stretched to 90 hours.

The LM’s oxygen and also water for cooling the spacecraft systems would be sufficient. Strength would have to be conserved. All noncritical systems were turn off and energy intake was reduced to 20 percent.

The crew decreased their consumption of drink water to six ounces per day. The astronauts came to be dehydrated throughout the flight. Lovell shed 14 pounds, and the crew shed a combined total of 31.5 pounds, almost 50 percent an ext than various other crews.


The LM, designed to support two astronauts for 2 days, was currently being provided by 3 crew for around four days. After ~ a day and a fifty percent in LM Aquarius, carbon dioxide (CO2) indigenous the astronauts’ exhalation had reached a danger level.

Apollo CM and LM systems provided lithium hydroxide filter to absorb CO2. Filters for the LM to be stored external the LM, out of reach of Apollo 13 astronauts. There were plenty square filter from the crippled CM, but they did not fit the LM’s round filter system. Mission regulate devised an adapter using only materials the crew had available on the spacecraft, tested it, and radioed the instructions come the crew. Mission Control"s Apollo 13 CO2 Scrubber is on screen in Starship Gallery.

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The LM lower engine normally controlled the landing top top the Moon would be used to command the crippled spacecraft ago toward Earth. Engineers and also mission planners computed how, when, and in what mindset to usage the LM lower engine to propel the crew on the quickest go back to Earth. The spacecraft had actually to it is in aligned effectively at the moment of the burn or the crew may miss Earth. Typically the alignment procedure supplied a sextant to uncover a star on i beg your pardon to base the navigation. On Apollo 13 that was difficult to sight stars as result of the debris ar from the explosion causing visual interference. Mission control arisen a procedure to use the sun for alignment, and Commander Jim Lovell completed the improvised burn.
The trip earlier to earth in the damaged spacecraft to be difficult. In addition to the lack of water and rest, the temperature dropped to 38 levels Fahrenheit inside the spacecraft once the electrical systems to be turned off.

After its lengthy cold sleep, the CM had actually to be powered up because that reentry and also splashdown. Flight controllers created the brand-new procedures in three days, rather of the usual three months. The centimeter was cold and also clammy in ~ the start of the power-up. Every the surface were spanned with condensation. Mission control worried the moisture would cause problems during power-up, however the extensive electrical insulation enhancements made after the Apollo 1 fire prevented any kind of issues. The crew walk recall, “as us decelerated in the atmosphere, the rained within the CM."

A few hours before reentry into Earth’s atmosphere, the organization Module was jettisoned. Apollo 13 astronauts were able to see the damages from the explosion. Whole panel was missing and nearby areas to be in shards. Before reentry through Earth’s atmosphere, the crew transferred from the LM to the cm Odyssey and also LM was jettisoned.


Ionization the the air around the CM throughout reentry typically caused a brief blackout in communication with Mission Control. Once controllers no hear indigenous Odyssey at the intended time, they fear the CM"s warm shield had actually failed.

Finally, Odyssey regained radio contact after a delay due come Apollo 13"s shallow reentry path, which lengthened the blackout. Quickly after, Apollo 13 splashed under safely in the south Pacific Ocean.

Although exhausted, the crew was in good condition other than for Fred Haise, Lunar Module Pilot, who was enduring from a significant urinary tract infection as result of dehydration.

President Richard Nixon vested the crew the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the greatest civilian honor. President Nixon additionally awarded the Presidential Medal of flexibility to the Apollo 13 Mission work Team in Houston.

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was a fail in its early mission; however, it to be a tremendous success in the capacity of civilization to get together, choose the mission manage team working through what they had and also working with the flight crew to turn what was practically a certain catastrophe into a effective recovery.

Jim Lovell, Apollo 13 Commander


See the newly mounted one-of-a-kind, seven-foot bronze statue depicting the Apollo 13 astronauts. The brand-new Apollo 13 bronze statue, through George and Mark Lundeen and also Joey Bainer, depicts the for sure return that Apollo 13 astronauts, Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert and also Fred Haise the moment they stepped down from the recovery helicopter ~ above the USS Iwo Jima, a United says Navy assault ship.