13 MORE Things That Saved Apollo 13, part 4: Early Entry into the Lander

Apollo 13 images via NASA. Montage by Judy Schmidt.

Apollo 13 images via NASA. Montage by Judy Schmidt.

To celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 13 mission, Universe Today is featuring “13 MORE Things That Saved Apollo 13,” discussing different turning points of the mission with NASA engineer Jerry Woodfill.

During the first two days of the Apollo 13 mission, it was looking like this was going to be the smoothest flight of the program. As Capcom Joe Kerwin commented at 46:43 Mission Elapsed Time (MET), “The spacecraft is in real good shape as far as we are concerned. We’re bored to tears down here.”

Everything was going well, and in fact the crew was ahead of the timeline. Commander Jim Lovell and Lunar Module Pilot Fred Haise had entered the Aquarius Lunar Module 3 hours earlier than the flight plan had scheduled, wanting to check out the pressure in the helium tank – which had given some erroneous readings in ground tests before the launch. Everything checked out OK.

Powering up Aquarius early may have been one more thing that saved Apollo 13, says NASA engineer Jerry Woodfill.
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Read the rest of 13 MORE Things That Saved Apollo 13, part 4: Early Entry into the Lander (860 words)


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