13 MORE Things That Saved Apollo 13

Apollo 13 images via NASA. Montage by Judy Schmidt.

Apollo 13 images via NASA. Montage by Judy Schmidt.

“Things had gone real well up to at that point of 55 hours, 54 minutes and 53 seconds,” said Apollo 13 astronaut Fred Haise as he recounted the evening of April 13, 1970, the night the Apollo 13’s command module’s oxygen tank exploded, crippling the spacecraft and endangering the three astronauts on board.

“Mission Control had asked for a cryo-stir in the oxygen tank …and Jack threw the switches,” Haise continued. “There was a very loud bang that echoed through the metal hull, and I could hear and see metal popping in the tunnel [between the command module and the lunar lander]… There was a lot of confusion initially because the array of warning lights that were on didn’t resemble anything we have ever thought would represent a credible failure. It wasn’t like anything we were exposed to in the simulations.”

What followed was a four-day ordeal as Haise, Jim Lovell and Jack Swigert struggled to get back to Earth, as thousands of people back on Earth worked around the clock to ensure the astronauts’ safe return.
Read the rest of 13 MORE Things That Saved Apollo 13 (910 words)

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