NASA Mission Control

Photo courtesy of NASA

Apollo XIII, 45 Years Ago Today
| published April 13, 2015 |

By Thursday Review staff

In this April 13, 1970 photograph, NASA’s Mission Control room in Houston, Texas can be seen at its peak of activity—during a live telecast in which Astronaut Fred Haise can be seen on the huge monitor on the wall. Apollo 13 was plagued with technical problems and mechanical malfunctions after a small explosion (which took place ominously on April 13) ruptured an oxygen tank while the crew was on its way toward the moon. The explosion caused electrical failures, blew out part of the command module’s outer shell, and depleted more than half the spaceship’s oxygen supply.

Aborting the lunar landing phase of the mission, Apollo 13 went around the moon anyway, using the moon’s gravity to slingshot it back toward Earth. Using the Lunar Module as a lifeboat, the crew—which consisted of Haise, along with Jim Lovell and Jack Swigert—was able to make it back to Earth several days later, surviving a harrowing re-entry in which there were concerns that the heat shield might have been compromised. Standing near the center foreground, back to camera, is senior flight director Eugene Kranz.

Photograph: NASA, April 13, 1970.

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