Apollo 13 April 11—17, was the seventh crewed mission in the Apollo space program and the third meant to land on the Moon. The craft was launched from Kennedy Space Center on April 11, , but the lunar landing was aborted after an oxygen tank in the service module SM failed two days into the mission. The crew instead looped around the Moon, and returned safely to Earth on April Swigert was a late replacement for Ken Mattingly , who was grounded after exposure to rubella. A routine stir of an oxygen tank ignited damaged wire insulation inside it, causing an explosion that vented the contents of both of the SM's oxygen tanks to space. Without oxygen, needed for breathing and for generating electric power, the SM's propulsion and life support systems could not operate.
Apollo 13: Lessons From the Successful Failure
Apollo Lessons From the Successful Failure
On April 11, it will have been forty-three years since the Apollo 13 lunar mission became one of the greatest death-defying adventures in history. Three astronauts, mission commander Jim Lovell, Fred Haise, and Jack Swigert, found themselves rocketing around the moon in a pair of joined vehicles, each with the interior space of a VW Beetle, almost no power, and no heat. As one of the supervisors at Mission Control in Houston said, "Not a good way to fly. The result: all three men "abandoned" the command module CM for the close confines of the lunar module LM.
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