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Apollo 13

Mission Number: AS-50811-17 April 1970

Crew:
    James Lovell [4], Commander
    John Swigert [1], CSM Pilot
    Fred Haise [1], LM Pilot

Backup Crew:
    John Young, Commander
    Russell Schweickart, CSM Pilot
    Charles Duke, LM Pilot

Launch:
    Location: John F. Kennedy Space Center
    Pad: 39-A
    Date: 11 April 1970
    Time: 19:13:00 UTC

Flight:
    Mission Duration: 5 days, 22 hours, 54 minutes, 41 seconds

Landing:
    Date: 17 April 1970
    Time: 18:07:41 UTC

Recovery:
    Location: Pacific Ocean (21° 38' S, 165° 22' W)
    Vessel: USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2)

Lunar Landing:
    None. Fra Mauro was the intended destination.

Jack Swigert was originally the backup for Command Module pilot Thomas Mattingly. Mattingly was exposed to German measles and replaced by Swigert.


(Click to play)

The mission to land on the moon was aborted when a service module oxygen tank ruptured. Because of the experience gained in successfully rescuing the crew, Apollo 13 was classed as a "successful failure". The lunar module served as a life boat until Apollo 13 was able to return to Earth for re-entry. Had the landing succeeded, Lovell and Haise would have been the fifth and sixth men on the moon. The landing was to have occurred at Fra Mauro (reassigned to Apollo 14).

The Command and Service Module (CSM) was named Odyssey, and the Lunar Module (LM) was named Aquarius.

The command module is on display at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson, KS.

Launch was by Saturn V.

55:52:31 Master caution and warning triggered by low hydrogen pressure in tank No. 1.
55:52:58 CopCom (Charlie Duke): "13, we've got one more item for you, when you get a chance. We'd like you to stir up your cryo tanks. In addition, I have shaft and trunnion-"
55:53:06 Swigert: "Okay."
55:53:07 "-for looking at the Comet Bennett, if you need it."
55:53:12 Swigert: "Okay. Stand by."
55:53:18 Oxygen tank No. 1 fans on.
55:53:19 Oxygen tank No. 2 pressure decreases 8 psi.
55:53:20 Oxygen tank No. 2 fans turned on.
55:53:20 Stabilization control system electrical disturbance indicates a power transient.
55:53:21 Oxygen tank No. 2 pressure decreases 4 psi.
55:53:22.718 Stabilization control system electrical disturbance indicates a power transient.
55:53:22.757 1.2-volt decrease in cic bus 2 voltage.
55:53:22.772 11.1-amp rise in fuel cell 3 current for one sample.
55:53:36 Oxygen tank No. 2 pressure begins rise lasting for 24 seconds.
55:53:38.057 11-volt decrease in ac bus 2 voltage for one sample.
55:53:38.085 Stabilization control system electrical disturbance indicates a power transient.
55:53:41.172 22.9-amp rise in fuel cell 3 current for one sample.
55:53:41.192 Stabilization control system electrical disturbance indicates a power transient.
55:54:00 Oxygen tank No. 2 pressure rise ends of a pressure of 953.8 psia.
55:54:15 Oxygen tank No. 2 pressure begins to rise.
55:54:30 Oxygen tank No. 2 quantity drops from full scale for 2 seconds and then reads 75.3 percent.
55:54:31 Oxygen tank No. 2 temperature begins to rise rapidly.
55:54:43 Flow rate of oxygen to all three fuel cells begins to decrease.
55:54:45 Oxygen tank No. 2 pressure reaches maximum volue of 1008.3 psia.
55:54:51 Oxygen tank No. 2 quantity jumps to off-scale high and then begins to drop until the time of telemetry loss, indicating from 2.5 minutes before failed sensor.
55:54:52 Oxygen tank No. 2 temperature reads -151.30° F.
55:54:52.703 Oxygen tank No. 2 temperature suddenly goes off-scale low, indicating failed sensor.
55:54:52.763 Last telemetered pressure from oxygen tank No. 2 before telemetry loss is 995.7 psia.
55:54:53.182 Sudden accelerometer activity on X, Y, Z axes.
55:54:53.220 Stabilization control system rate changes begin.
55:54:53.323 Oxygen tank No. 1 pressure drops 4.2 psi.
55:54:53.500 2.8-amp rise in total fuel cell current.
55:54:53.542 X, Y, and Z accelerations in CM indicate 1.179, 0.65g, and 0.659.
55:54:53.555 Loss of telemetry.
55:54:53.555+ Master caution and warning triggered by dc main bus 8 undervoltage. Alarm is turned off in 6 seconds. All indications are that the cryogenic oxygen tank No. 2 lost pressure in this time period and the panel separated.
55:54:54.741 Nitrogen pressure in fuel cell 1 is off-scale low indicating failed sensor.
55:54:55.350 Telemetry recovered.
55:54:56 Service propulsion system engine valve body temperature begins a rise of 1.65° F in 7 seconds. Dc main bus A decreases 0.9 volt to 28.5 volts und dc main bus B decreases 0.9 volt to 29.0 volts. Total fuel cell current is 15 amps higher than the final value before telemetry loss. High current continues for 19 seconds. Oxygen tank No. 2 temperature reads offscale high after telemetry recovery, probably indicating failed sensors. Oxygen tank No. 2 pressure reads offscale low following telemetry recovery, indicating a broken supply line, a tank pressure below 19 psi, or a failed sensor. Oxygen tank No. 1 pressure reads 781.9 psia und begins to drop.
55:54:57 Oxygen tank No. 2 quantity reads off-scale high following telemetry recovery incdicating failed sensor.
55:55:01 Oxygen flow rates to fuel cells 1 und 3 approached zero after decreasing for 7 seconds.
55:55:02 The surface temperature of the service module oxidizer tank in bay 3 begins a 3.8° F increase in a 15-second period. The service propulsion system helium tank temperature begins a 3.8° F increase in a 32-second period.
55:55:09 Dc main bus A voltage recovers to minutes after 29.0 volts; dc main bus 8 recovers to 28.8.
55:55:20 Swigert: "Okay, Houston, we'ye had a problem here."
55:55:28 Duke: "This is Houston. Say again, please."
55:55:35 Lovell: "Houston, we've had a problem. We've had a main B bus undervolt.
55:55:42 Duke: "Roger. Main B undervolt."
55:55:49 Oxygen tank No. 2 temperature begins steady drop lasting 59 seconds, indicating failed sensor.
55:56:10 Haise: "Okay. Right now, Houston, the voltage is - is looking good. And we had a pretty large bang associated with the caution und warning there. And as I recall, main B was the one that had an amp spike on it once before."
55:56:30 Duke: "Roger, Fred."
55:56:38 Oxygen tank No. 2 quantity becomes erratic for 69 seconds before assuming an off-scale-low state, indicating failed sensor.
55:56:54 Haise: "In the interim here, we're starting to go ahead und button up the tunnel again."
55:57:04 Haise: "That jolt must have rocked the sensor on - see now - oxygen quantity 2. It was oscillating down around 20 to 60 percent. Now it's full-scale high."
55:57:39 Master caution und warning triggered by dc main bus B undervoltage alarm is turned off in 6 seconds.
55:57:40 Dc main bus B drops below 2 25 volts und continues to fall rapidly.
55:57:44 Lovell: "Okay. And we're looking at our service module RCS helium 1. We have - B is barber poled und D is barber poled, helium 2, D is barber pole, und secondary propellants, I have A and C barber pole." Ac bus fails within 2 seconds.
55:57:45 Fuel cell 3 fails.
55:57:59 Fuel cell current begins to decrease.
55:58:02 Master caution und warning caused by ac bus 2 being reset.
55:58:06 Master caution und warning triggered by dc main bus A undervoltage.
55:58:07 Dc main bus A drops below 26 25 volts und in the next few seconds levels oft at 25.5 volts.
55:58:07 Haise: "Ac 2 is showing zip."
55:58:25 Haise: "Yes, we got a main bus A undervolt now, too, showing. Its reading about 251/2. Main B is reading zip right now."
56:00:06 Master caution und warning triggered by high hydrogen flow rate to fuel cell 2.

 

a13_service_sm.jpg (13146 bytes)
Credit: NASA
Here the damage to the service module can be clearly seen.
a13crew.jpg (17857 bytes)
Credit: NASA
Haise, Lovell, and Swigert step off the recovery helicopter to the Iwo Jima in the South Seas. The crew lost a total of 31.5 pounds; Lovell alone 14 pounds - records in both cases. Dehydroted and exhausted, Haise was invalided three weeks by infection.

"Houston, We've Had a Problem" by James A. Lovell

 


Page last modified: 13 February 2017 13:47:53.