With the world watching anxiously, Apollo 13, an American lunar spacecraft that suffered a serious malfunction on its journey to the moon, returns safely to Earth.
On April 11, the third manned lunar landing mission was launched from Florida, carrying astronauts James A. Lovell, John L. Swigert, and Fred W. Haise. The mission was heading for a landing in the highlands of Fra Mauro on the moon. However, two days after the start of the mission, a disaster struck 200,000 miles from Earth when the No. 2 oxygen tank exploded in the spacecraft. Swigert reported to Mission Control on Earth, “Houston, we had a problem here,” and it was discovered that the normal supply of oxygen, electricity, light and water had been cut off.
Listen to the HISTORY This Week podcast: “ Houston, we had a problem ”
The landing mission was interrupted, and astronauts and controllers on Earth rushed to find emergency procedures. The paralyzed spacecraft continued to the moon, circled it, and began a long, cold journey back to Earth.
Astronauts and mission control faced enormous logistical challenges in stabilizing the spacecraft and its air supply, as well as delivering enough power to the damaged fuel cells to allow a successful re-entry into the atmosphere. earthly. Navigation was another problem, and Apollo 13The trajectory of the latter has been corrected several times by spectacular and untested maneuvers. On April 17, tragedy turned into triumph as the Apollo 13 the astronauts landed safely in the Pacific Ocean.
READ MORE: How Apollo 13 Became NASA’s ‘Successful Fail’