At 3:13PM on April 11, 1970, Apollo 13 lifted off for the moon with Commander Jim Lovell, Command Module Pilot Jack Swigert and Lunar Module Pilot Fred Haise strapped to a Saturn V rocket, the largest rocket ever launched.
Two days later, with the spacecraft well on its way to the moon, an oxygen tank exploded, scrubbing the lunar landing and putting the crew in jeopardy.
After the discovery of the failed oxygen sensor, Pilot Jack Swigert delivered the news back to Mission Control “Okay, Houston, we’ve had a problem here” which is an infamous line made by Tom Hanks in the 1997 Movie Apollo 13 – “Houston, we have a problem”.
Many sat and watched live as CBS’ Walter Cronkite delivered the life-threatening news about the Apollo 13 crew members.
What probably seemed like an eternity for the crew, Mission Control in Houston worked tirelessly to come up with a band-aid solution to keep carbon dioxide levels from building up in the spacecraft.
As we all know – the temporary fix worked long enough for the Apollo 13 crew to safely return to earth, splashing down on April 17, 1970.
This mission perfectly summed up what NASA is – an organization of the brightest minds, working together to push the boundaries of our existence.
It shows in the efforts of thousands to return the shuttle fleet to flight, and it will ultimately help NASA fulfill its exploration Vision – returning to the moon, journeying to Mars and beyond.