Apollo 13 Mission
Apollo 13 was the thirteenth in a series of missions using Apollo-specification flight hardware and was to be the third lunar landing. The launch vehicle and spacecraft were similar to those of Apollo 12. There were some differences in the makeup of the ALSEP.
Mission Event List and Timeline
|EVENT||DATE & TIME (EST)||MISSION TIME|
|Launch||April 11 02:13:00 p.m.||00:00:00|
|Earth orbit insertion||02:25:40 p.m.||00:12:40|
|Translunar injection||04:54:47 p.m.||02:41:47|
|LO2 tank anomaly||April 13 10:07:53 p.m.||55:54:53|
|Trans-Earth injection||April 14 09:40:39 p.m.||79:27:39|
|Splashdown||April 17 01:07:41 p.m.||142:54:41|
The space vehicle was launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, at 2:13:00 p.m. EST on April 11, 1970. During the launch, the second-stage inboard engine shut down early because of high-amplitude longitudinal oscillations; however, near-nominal trajectory parameters were achieved at orbital insertion. The Earth-orbital and translunar injection phases went as planned.
The configuration of the Apollo 13 spacecraft was nearly identical to that of Apollo 12. The structure of the command module was reinforced to accommodate higher parachute loads due to increased weight. On the lunar module, the modularized equipment storage assembly (MESA) was modified to simplify the deployment operation. Also, a heat-flow experiment and a charged particle environment detector replaced the solar wind spectrometer, magnetometer, and suprathermal ion detector experiments in the ALSEP.
The Apollo 13 spacecraft was made up of the same components as all Apollo landing missions, consisting of the two-part Command/Service Module Odyssey and the two-part Lunar Module Aquarius. As the result of the accident, however, none of these components was used in precisely the way they were originally intended.
|James A. Lovell, Mission Commander, was born March 25, 1928, in Cleveland, Ohio. He received a bachelor of science degree from the U.S. Naval Academy (1952) and was chosen with the second group of astronauts in 1962. He was back-up pilot for Gemini 4, pilot of Gemini 7, back-up command pilot for Gemini 9, command pilot for Gemini 12, command module pilot of Apollo 8, back-up commander for Apollo 11, and commander of Apollo 13. In May 1971, he became Deputy Director of Science and Applications at the Johnson Space Center. He retired from NASA and the Navy in March 1973.|
|John L. Swigert, Jr., Command Module Pilot, was born August 30, 1931 in Denver, Colorado. He received a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Colorado (1953), a master of science in aerospace science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (1965), and a master of science in business administration from the University of Hartford (1967). He was chosen in the fifth group of astronauts in 1966. He was scheduled to be the back-up command module pilot for Apollo 13 but was moved to the prime crew 72 hours before the launch in place of Ken Mattingly who had been exposed to measles. Swigert took a leave of absence from NASA in April 1973 to become Executive Director of the Committee on Science and Technology, U.S. House of Representatives. He resigned from NASA and the committee in August 1977.|
|Fred W. Haise, Lunar Module Pilot, was born November 14, 1933, in Biloxi, Mississippi. He received a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Oklahoma (1959) and was chosen in the fifth group of astronauts in 1966. He was back-up lunar pilot for Apollo 8 and Apollo 11, lunar module pilot for Apollo 13, and backup commander for Apollo 16. He was commander of one of the crews who flew shuttle approach and landing tests and had been selected as commander of one of the shuttle orbital flight tests but resigned from NASA in June 1979.|
Back-up crew for this mission were John W. Young (back-up mission commander), Ken Mattingly (back-up command module pilot), and Charles M. Duke (back-up lunar module pilot). Ken Mattingly was removed from the crew two days before launch because he had been exposed to German measles.
Reentry required the unusual step of undocking the lunar module, which had been retained for the flight back to Earth, in addition to the separation of the damaged service module. The lunar module had remained attached to the spacecraft to preserve the maximum electrical power in the command module for entry. The reentry was similar to previous flights and landing occurred at 142:54:41 at 21°38'24"S latitude and 165°21'42"W longitude. The landing was within sight of the recovery ship, Iwo Jima, and the crew were on board within 45 minutes.
None of the primary misson objectives was accomplished. The mission was aborted after nearly 56 hours of flight due to the loss of service module cryogenic oxygen and consequent loss of capability to generate electricity or to provide oxygen or water. Two secondary objectives related to the impact of the S-IVB stage on the Moon, two scientific experiments not related to the ALSEP, and some photography were accomplished, however.
Intended as the third lunar landing mission, Apollo 13 had a full roster of activities scheduled in addition to lunar surface activities (experiments, sampling, etc.) and photography. After the accident, virtually all activities were related to returning quickly and safely to Earth.
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