We have seen the movie, we know Tom Hanks’ character, but what actually happened with the Apollo 13?
April 11 was the day Apollo 13 was launched into space from Cape Canaveral, Florida, with the expectation to explore Fra Mauro, highlands of the moon, and conduct geological experiments.
However, the name of the game changed and the main mission was to get the Apollo 13 exploration team safely back to earth.
On April 13, 1970, the famous line “Houston, we’ve had a problem here,” was spoken by Jack Swigret after an oxygen tank failed 200,000 miles from earth.
It was discovered that the normal supply of oxygen, electricity and light had been disrupted.
“… [ The] mission of lunar exploration quickly became a mission of survival. Ground control in Houston scrambled to develop an emergency plan as millions around the world watched and the lives of three astronauts hung in the balance: commander James A. Lovell Jr., lunar module pilot Fred W. Haise Jr. and command module pilot John L. Swigert,” according to history.com.
The four men spent three days trying to survive in the almost-freezing temperatures with one even coming down with a severe case of the flu.
Navigation had also become a major issue. The Landing Module (LM) lacked a comprehensive navigational system, which meant the astronauts and mission control had to work out by hand the changes in power and direction needed to take the spacecraft home.
“On April 14, Apollo 13 was able to swing around the moon. Swigert and Haise took pictures and Lovell talked with mission control about the most difficult maneuver, a five-minute engine burn that would give the LM enough speed to return home before its energy ran out,” according to history.com.
Two hours after rounding the far side of the moon, the crew, using the sun as an alignment point, fired the LM’s small descent engine. The procedure was a success; Apollo 13 was on its way home,” according to history.com
The survival lasted four days before the explorers safely landed in the Pacific Ocean.
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