Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Apollo 13 suffers near-catastrophic failure 1970

Commander James A. Lovell Jr., Command Module Pilot, John L. Swigert Jr; Lunar Module Pilot Fred W. Haise Jr.  Swigert replaced Thomas Mattingly Jr. right before the flight.  (I suppose you had to have 'Jr.' in your name to be an astronaut on this mission?)

Apollo 13 launched on April 11, 1970, as NASA's third manned mission to the moon, but two days later, April 13, an oxygen tank exploded causing another tank to fail.  This led to a loss of electrical power.  James Lovell, John Swigert and Fred Haise had to abort their landing mission, getting to orbit the moon only once before heading back to Earth.

Against staggering odds, the Apollo 13 crew splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on April 17.

This video from the Smithsonian Channel says the explosion happened on the 14th but NASA's website confirms it was April 13.

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