Thursday, April 1, 2010

Forty years after Apollo 13

Jim Lovell leads Rusty Swigert and Fred Haise, on their way toward the launch of Apollo 13, April 11, 1970 [AP].

Dewayne Bevil

Orlando Sentinel

Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex is holding events in April in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 13 mission, which was coined "a successful failure" back in the day and turned into a motion picture in 1995.

On April 10, the complex will have a special "Astronaut Encounter," featuring Jim Lovell and Fred Haise, the surviving crew of Apollo 13 (Lunar Module Pilot and Apollo 9 astronaut Jack Swigert died in 1982). The astronauts will tell spaceflight stories, including their experiences aboard Apollo 13, which included an explosion en route to the moon, four days in space using the lunar module as a lifeboat and a journey around the far side of the moon on their gut-wrenching trip back to Earth. The appearance starts at 10:30 a.m.

On April 9, Charlie Duke, who was backup lunar module pilot for Apollo 13, will be signing copies of his book Moonwalker at the complex. Two years later, Duke flew to the moon on Apollo 16 and became the 10th man to walk on the moon. Books will be available for purchase at the complex's Space Shop, and the book-signing will begin at 3:30.

Both experience are included in regular admission to the attraction, which is $38 general, $28 ages 3-11. for more information, call 321-449-4444 or go to

Lovell recalls ill-fated Apollo 13

Cynthia Dizikes
Chicago BreakingNews Center

"We were going to a place called Fra Mauro and it was about in the center of the moon," Lovell told the rapt teenagers. "It was going to be different than the first two landings because they landed in the (flat areas) ... but now they wanted us to land in the hills and the highlands."

Instead, NASA's third planned moon landing turned into a life-or-death struggle to return to Earth after an oxygen tank exploded and the crew lost its oxygen supply and electrical power.

"We were in sort of deep trouble," Lovell told the students, whom he encouraged Wednesday to pursue science even if it meant reaching beyond their high school classes.

As a young boy growing up in Milwaukee, Lovell said he consumed all the information he could about astronomy, physics and engineering. His wife, Marilyn, who said she met him in high school, remembered sitting with his mother on their porch watching him try to set off homemade rockets in a nearby lot.

"We would both say, 'He's crazy, this is insane,'" said Marilyn Lovell, laughing. "But, he just kept at it."

Read the full article, HERE.

Captain Lovell at Alder Planetarium

Frank Mathie
WLS-TV - Chicago

Captain Jim Lovell, the commander of Apollo 13, spoke at Adler Planetarium about the mission, which went from near disaster to unbelievable rescue.

Lovell kicked off the planetarium's month long "Shoot for the Moon" celebration. He told the story to students from the city's Air Force Academy High School.

"About 200,000 miles out as you might expect we had that explosion. And right away we didn't know what the situation was but as it turned out we had an oxygen tank that blew up," said Capt. Lovell.

The explosion lead to what many call NASA's greatest hour. The spacecraft had lost two of its three oxygen tanks and electrical power but somehow mission control had the astronauts jerry rig their command and lunar modules for a heart stopping ride home. Four days later they landed safely and the world sighed in relief.

Story & video, HERE.

No comments: