Meeting the Apollo 13 Crew
The Apollo Mission Control room in Building 30 is kept as much as possible in its historic state. The surviving crewmembers of Apollo 13 are Fred Haise (left) and Jim Lovell (right). Command Module Pilot Jack Swigert passed away in 1982. Last week the crew and some of the ground personnel visited Johnson Space Center to share some memories. The mirror behind me has its own history--it was presented to the Mission Control crew by the Apollo 13 astronauts so they would be reminded who the real heroes were.
One anecdote: When the original explosion occured, the astronauts thought that the LM might have depressurised. They tried to close the hatch between the CM and LM, but for some reason it would not shut. If it could not be closed, the modules could not separate for reentry. Somehow when the time came the hatch closed and the Command Module separated for reentry.
Apollo 13 launched 40 years ago April 11, 1970. Originally called "the flight that failed," today we know that it was their finest hour. The crew on the ground and in Space performed heroically despite overwhelming odds. In an emergency, they "worked the problem." The performance of Apollo crews inspired many of us to solve problems of Space and Time.