Apollo 13

this article is concerned with the mission Apollo 13 of American space travel. For the filming of the same name see: Apollo 13 (film)
Apollo project
mission emblem
Logo der Apollo-13-Mission
mission data
mission: Apollo 13
Pilot of the command cap:
Pilot of the moon ferry:
James A. Lovell
John L. Swigert
Fred Haise
start to: 11. April 1970
landing to: 17. April 1970
duration: 5 days, 22 hours
landing strip: Pacific
21.63°S 165.37°W
moon circling: 0 (moon orbited, but does not circle)
salvage vessel: USS Iwo Jima
crew photo

Apollo 13 - v.l.n.r. James A. Lovell, John L. Swigert, Fred Haise

previous mission:

Apollo 12

the following mission:

Apollo 14

Apollo 13 was a mission within the American Apollo program. The primary goal, a manned landing on the moon, was not reached. Despite partial dramatic incidents returned all three crew members living to the earth. This Apolloflug was thatonly, which had to be broken off prematurely.

Table of contents


to 6. August 1969, briefly after the successful moon-landing by Apollo 11, communicated NASA the crews for the missions Apollo 13 and Apollo 14 .

As a commander of Apollo 13 James Lovell became instead of of theoriginally selected and undertook planned commander Alan Shepard thereby after Gemini 7, Gemini 12 and Apollo 8 as first spacemen a fourth space flight. Shepard took over the following flight Apollo 14.

As a pilot of the Apollokapsel first Ken Mattingly was nominated, as a pilot of the lunar excursion module Fred Haise. The two were first of the fifth group of astronaut selections, which were divided for a space flight into the captain shank.

As a commander the reinforcement was divided John Young. „Jack “Swigert became a spare pilot of the Apollokapsel and Charles Duke took over the role of the spare pilot for the lunar excursion module.

The support crew (support crew) consisted of Jack Lousma, William Pogue and Vance fire. All three had already experiences as support crew or Capcom.

Some days before the start, to 6. April 1970, turned out that the spare pilot of the moon ferry, Charles Duke also Röteln it was infected and that Ken Mattingly was not immune to it. In order to eliminate the risk that Mattingly got sick during the moon flight, it became to 9. April by the reserve pilot Swigert replaces.

Mattingly did not get Röteln. Later it took then at the Apollo-16 - missionpart, for which Swigert was intended actually.

were delivered to preparation the individual stages of the Saturn V rocket AS-508 in June and July 1969 in Cape Kennedy. The Apollo spaceship CSM-109 received the name Odyssey, the lunar excursion module LM-5 to the name Aquarius.

Similarly as thoseThe astronauts of Apollo 13 did to crew of Apollo 11 without the fact that its names appeared on the mission badge. Instead it received latin slogan ex Luna, Scientia. To that extent the Logo did not have to be changed, as if some days before the start the pilot Mattingly throughSwigert to be replaced had. Following crews existed on the fact that their names appeared on the Logo.

To 15. December 1969 could be rolled Apollo 13 to the launch pad 39-A.

As a connecting speaker (Capcom) during the flight served fire, Lousma, Young and Mattingly, as well as the science astronaut Joseph Kerwin.

The landing on the moon was intended in the Fra Mauro, where the ALSEP (Apollo lunar Surface of experiment Package) should be set up.


Apollo 13 - original intended crew with Ken Mattingly in the center
the suffered average service moduleafter the separation


the start of Apollo 13 took place at the 11. April 1970, 19:13: 00 GMT in Cape Canaveral , Florida (13: 13: 00 o'clock in the control center in Houston). Due to strong vibrations the middle engine of the second stage switched off automatically, whichthe flight line thereby adjusted that it let the remaining four engines burn longer. Also the third stage burned somewhat longer. Despite the unexpected disturbance the deviation from the planned orbit was minimal. After 1,5 orbits around the earth the third stage a second time was ignited, around Apolloto bring 13 on the way to the moon.

the Saturn Crash

an experiment forgotten fast before the background of the following tragedy was the Saturn Crash on the moon. After separation of the Apollo and coupling of the landing module the third stage of the Saturn V became shortagain ignited and successfully on collision course with the moon brought. Later those struck three days nearly 14,000 kg heavy stage approx. 120 km westnorthwest the Apollo-12 - landing strip with 2,5 km/s speed up. The impact corresponded to the explosive effect of well 10 t TNT. Afterthe Seismometer of Apollo 12 the impact registered approximately 30 seconds. Quake persisted more than three hours. Already a short while before by ionospheres the detector a gas cloud was registered. It was provable for more than one minute. One assumes that the impact particle of theMoon soil at a value of 60 kilometers hurled, where they were ionized by the sunlight.

„Houston, incoming goods have A problem. “

(Houston, we have a problem.)

55 hours and 54 minutes after the start, all right far on the way to the moon, explodedone of the oxygen tanks „of the Odyssey “, briefly after a fan in the tank had been taken in enterprise. The reason of the explosion was not to be read as frequently a broken cable in the oxygen tank, but to to high tension attached thermostat, in consequence its itself thoseContacts thermostats during a soil test welded together. The inserted thermostat was specified and despite change of specification in the year 1965 on 65V DC voltage was not originally exchanged for 28V DC voltage. During the flight of Apollo 13 to the moon the oxygen heated up due to this error up toapprox. 530°C (nominal the thermostat should hold the temperature of the oxygen 26°C). When Jack Swigert set an agitator in the oxygen tank now on instruction of soil control on, the oxygen exploded, because the isolation of the cables as well as the engine coils of the agitator by much toohigh temperature in the oxygen tank damaged were. (See also to Apollo 13 Review board [1].)

In the consequence the crew determined a waste in the current supply and a further significant loss of oxygen. Concerned was also the water supply. In place of a landing on the moon hadthe course to be changed in such a way that the flight path led around the moon and again back to the earth. Surviving of the crew was no longer possible in the service module equipped for the journey. The supply had to be taken over by the lunar excursion module „Aquarius “.

The life support system thatFerry was not appropriate however to receive to three persons several days alive. During the flight the overloaded air cleaning system had to be converted, in order with the carbon dioxide - filters „of the Odyssey “to work to be able, which was incompatible actually with that „ the Aquarius “. Had out on for thisBoard existing things, like for example bags, tape, flight plans etc. an adapter to be built. The soil center in Houston compiled a procedure, which was transmitted to the crew, which successfully copied then the adapter.


before the end of the flight became only shortthe cap of the crew, needed for the reentry, mounted and from the remaining wreck separately. The lunar excursion module glowed in the terrestrial atmosphere, equally on board ALSEP present went - station with its nuclear-claimant current supply lost. However no set free radioactivity was proven, there this case inDesign of the container was taken into account and it a reentry without loss to project could. As additional safety precaution the reentry was selected in such a way that one point in the Pacific was met with very large depth of water. „The Blackout in such a way specified “(=Funkstille with the reentry) lasted longer than the usual threeMinutes. One thought, it was lost everything. But to 17. April 1970 around 13:07 clock landed on water Apollo 13 in the Pacific, where the crew was accepted of the USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2 ).

meaning for the Apollo program

because it succeeded, the three astronautsdespite adverse circumstances living back on earth to bring, NASA designated the Apollo-13-Mission later than one „successful miss “.

After in June 1970 its report had published an internal commission of inquiry led by Edgar Cortright, constructional changes at the oxygen tanks of the still remaining Apollo Servicemodule becamemade. In January 1971 the Apollo program was continued with the mission Apollo 14.

Already to 2. Septembers 1970 were painted the moon-landings planned for 1972/73 by Apollo 18 and Apollo 19 due to of budget shortening in the US household. It may have played a role that onefeared, with a further (and possibly deadly) misfortune the entire manned space program could be painted.

Also a record is entitled to this mission: Due to the larger radius of the course around the moon the three astronauts of Apollo are 13 also those humans, furthest ofwere distant for the earth - at the outermost point of course around the moon.

the famous message

many believe erroneous-proves, the famous set of the astronauts at Houston would have read: “Houston, incoming goods have A problem
in reality was called the message: “Okay, Houston, we'vehad A problem here[2], of Swigert at ground station. Lovell made then the same message: “Houston, we've had A problem.


the mission became in the year 1995 with Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, OD Harris, Gary Sinise and Bill Paxton in the main roles films. The drama came under the title Apollo 13 into the cinemas and with two Oscars was distinguished.

Web on the left of

Commons: Apollo 13 - Pictures, videos and/or audio files

NASA (all English)


see also

disasters of space travel


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