A successful failure: Ten formidable images that document the journey of the Apollo 13 moon mission [Photos]

17 April marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 13 mission that returned safely in spite of a catastrophic explosion in space.

tech2 News Staff April 16, 2020 09:12:20 IST
Apollo 13 lunar landing mission prime crew from left to right are: Commander, James A. Lovell Jr., Command Module pilot, John L. Swigert Jr.and Lunar Module pilot, Fred W Haise Jr. The original Command Module pilot for this mission was Thomas "Ken" Mattingly Jr but due to exposure to German measles, he was replaced by his backup, Command Module pilot, John L. "Jack" Swigert Jr. Image credit: NASA
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Apollo 13 lunar landing mission prime crew from left to right are: Commander, James A. Lovell Jr., Command Module pilot, John L. Swigert Jr.and Lunar Module pilot, Fred W Haise Jr. The original Command Module pilot for this mission was Thomas "Ken" Mattingly Jr but due to exposure to German measles, he was replaced by his backup, Command Module pilot, John L. "Jack" Swigert Jr. Image credit: NASA
Apollo 13's mission commander, Jim Lovell, was 42 years old and was, at that time, the NASA astronaut with the most time in space - 572 hours. He has flown in three missions - Gemini 7 and 12 and Apollo 8. The command module pilot, Jack Swigert, was 38 years old and Fred Haise, the lunar module pilot was 35 years old. The Apollo 13 was the only spaceflight Haise and Swigert ever went on. Image credit: NASA
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Apollo 13's mission commander, Jim Lovell, was 42 years old and was, at that time, the NASA astronaut with the most time in space - 572 hours. He has flown in three missions - Gemini 7 and 12 and Apollo 8. The command module pilot, Jack Swigert, was 38 years old and Fred Haise, the lunar module pilot was 35 years old. The Apollo 13 was the only spaceflight Haise and Swigert ever went on. Image credit: NASA
The Apollo 13 mission was scheduled to launch in March but was postponed. On 1 Apri, with the launch of the Saturn V rocket from the Kennedy Space Centre, the mission was a go. The launch vehicle was heavier than the other rockets flown by NASA since they were testing the amount of propellant that would be needed for future missions. Image credit: NASA
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The Apollo 13 mission was scheduled to launch in March but was postponed. On 1 Apri, with the launch of the Saturn V rocket from the Kennedy Space Centre, the mission was a go. The launch vehicle was heavier than the other rockets flown by NASA since they were testing the amount of propellant that would be needed for future missions. Image credit: NASA
SWIGERT: "Okay, Houston, we've had a problem here." CAPCOM: "This is Houston. Say again, please." LOVELL: "Houston, we've had a problem." This is a reprocessed image of the Apollo 13 service module that shows the extent of the damage. Image credit: NASA/Andy Saunders
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SWIGERT: "Okay, Houston, we've had a problem here." CAPCOM: "This is Houston. Say again, please." LOVELL: "Houston, we've had a problem." This is a reprocessed image of the Apollo 13 service module that shows the extent of the damage. Image credit: NASA/Andy Saunders
The crew heard a loud bang and several alarms started ringing after the explosion. Mission Control in Houston improvised new procedures in order to get the crew back to safety. However, they faced a lot of hardships - limited power, a cold and wet cabin and a shortage of potable water. Image credit: NASA
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The crew heard a loud bang and several alarms started ringing after the explosion. Mission Control in Houston improvised new procedures in order to get the crew back to safety. However, they faced a lot of hardships - limited power, a cold and wet cabin and a shortage of potable water. Image credit: NASA
An oxygen tank exploded and its contents were released into space. This was a serious issue because oxygen was needed to generate electricity as well as for the life support systems and for the propulsion of the service module. The crew was forced to transfer to the lunar module that was supposed to accommodate only two people. The moon landing was also cancelled as the crew tried to make it back to Earth safely. Commander Lovell (hand, left) watches over his ship as Haise and Swigert take a nap. Image credit: NASA/Andy Saunders
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An oxygen tank exploded and its contents were released into space. This was a serious issue because oxygen was needed to generate electricity as well as for the life support systems and for the propulsion of the service module. The crew was forced to transfer to the lunar module that was supposed to accommodate only two people. The moon landing was also cancelled as the crew tried to make it back to Earth safely. Commander Lovell (hand, left) watches over his ship as Haise and Swigert take a nap. Image credit: NASA/Andy Saunders
While the original mission was to land on the moon, the explosion made them abort it. Instead of coming straight back to Earth, the mission's flight director advised them to take the long route home by orbiting around the moon. Commander Lovell is pictured at his position in the Lunar Module. Image credit: NASA/Andy Saunders
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While the original mission was to land on the moon, the explosion made them abort it. Instead of coming straight back to Earth, the mission's flight director advised them to take the long route home by orbiting around the moon. Commander Lovell is pictured at his position in the Lunar Module. Image credit: NASA/Andy Saunders
The command capsule's guidance system was turned off after the explosion and the spacecraft had drifted off course during its re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere. After making a few corrections and using some ingenious methods, the Apollo 13 safely splashed down into the Pacific Ocean and the crew was scooped out of the craft. Image credit: NASA
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The command capsule's guidance system was turned off after the explosion and the spacecraft had drifted off course during its re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere. After making a few corrections and using some ingenious methods, the Apollo 13 safely splashed down into the Pacific Ocean and the crew was scooped out of the craft. Image credit: NASA
After the Apollo 13 crew was rescued, the Navy divers came in to prepare the Command Module. It was hoisted onto the recovery ship - USS Iwo Jima. The crew spent a night on the ship before they flew out to Hawaii. Image credit: NASA
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After the Apollo 13 crew was rescued, the Navy divers came in to prepare the Command Module. It was hoisted onto the recovery ship - USS Iwo Jima. The crew spent a night on the ship before they flew out to Hawaii. Image credit: NASA
President Nixon awards the Apollo 13 crew members the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour. He also awarded this medal to the Mission Operations Team. Image credit: NASA
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President Nixon awards the Apollo 13 crew members the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour. He also awarded this medal to the Mission Operations Team. Image credit: NASA