InSITE--The Real Apollo 13 - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

04/13/04

InSITE--The Real Apollo 13

Apollo 13, NASA's third scheduled moon landing, lifted off on April 11, 1970, at 13:13 hours. Two days later, on April 13, came the famous "Okay, Houston, we've had a problem here," message. A cryogenic oxygen tank exploded, heavily damaging the crew's service module.
 
 Back at Mission Control, people scrambled to get the crew home safely with limited resources. Time was counting down as precious consumables like oxygen and power were in short supply.
 
 The astronauts, James Lovell, Fred Haise, and Thomas Mattingly, were forced to abort their mission to touch down at the Fra Mauro landing site and instead use what have been called very primitive celestial navigation techniques to determine where they were and how to get back to Earth.
 
 Though Apollo 13 would never leave its mark on the moon, in what mission commander Lovell would later call a "successful failure," the craft was guided home manually with very little life-support to spare, and despite everything made an accurate splashdown.
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