- Saturn-V AS-508
- High Bay 1
- Firing Room 1
- James A. Lovell, Jr.
- John L. Swigert, Jr.
- Fred W. Haise, Jr.
- 06/13/69 - S-IVB ondock at KSC
- 06/29/69 - S-II Stage ondock
- 06/16/69 - S-1C Stage ondock
- 07/07/69 - S-IU ondock at KSC
- 04/11/70 - Launch
- Odyssey (CM-109) and Aquarius
- Apollo 13 was supposed to land
in the Fra Mauro area. An explosion on board forced Apollo 13 to circle the
moon without landing. The Fra Mauro site was reassigned to Apollo 14.
Launched: 11 April 1970 UT 19:13:00
(02:13:00 p.m. EST)
Malfunction forced cancellation of lunar landing
Returned to Earth: 17 April 1970 UT 18:07:41 (01:07:41 p.m. EST)
we have a problem..."
James A. Lovell, commander
John L. Swigert, Jr., command module pilot
Fred W. Haise, Jr., lunar module pilot
Apollo 13 was intended to be the
third mission to carry humans to the surface of the Moon, but an explosion of
one of the oxygen tanks and resulting damage to other systems resulted in the
mission being aborted before the planned lunar landing could take place. The
crew, commander James A. Lovell, Jr., command module pilot John L. Swigert, Jr.,
and lunar module pilot Fred W. Haise Jr., were returned safely to Earth on 17
Apollo 13 was launched on Saturn
V SA-508 on 11 April 1970 at 19:13:00 UT (02:13:00 p.m. EST) from pad 39A at
Kennedy Space Center. During second stage boost the center engine of the S-II
stage cut off 132 seconds early, causing the remaining four engines to burn 34
seconds longer than normal. The velocity after S-II burn was still lower than
planned by 68 m/sec, so the S-IVB orbital insertion burn at 19:25:40 was 9
seconds longer than planned. Translunar injection took place at 21:54:47 UT, CSM/S-IVB
separation at 22:19:39 UT, and CSM-LM docking at 22:32:09 UT. The S-IVB
auxilliary propulsive system burned at 01:13 UT on 12 April for 217 seconds to
put the S-IVB into a lunar impact trajectory. (It impacted the lunar surface on
14 April at 01:09:41.0 at 2.75 S, 27.86 W with a velocity of 2.58 km/s at a 76
degrees angle from horizontal.) A 3.4 second mid-course correction was made at
01:27 UT on 13 April.
A television broadcast was made
from Apollo 13 from 02:24 UT to 02:59 UT on 14 April and a few minutes later, at
03:06:18 UT Jack Swigert turned the fans on to stir oxygen tanks 1 and 2 in the
service module. The Accident Review Board concluded that wires which had been
damaged during pre-flight testing in oxygen tank no. 2 shorted and the teflon
insulation caught fire. The fire spread within the tank, raising the pressure
until at 3:07:53 UT on 14 April (10:07:53 EST 13 April; 55:54:53 mission elapsed
time) oxygen tank no. 2 exploded, damaging oxygen tank no. 1 and the interior of
the service module and blowing off the bay no. 4 cover. With the oxygen stores
depleted, the command module was unusable, the mission had to be aborted, and
the crew transferred to the lunar module and powered down the command module.
At 08:43 UT a mid-course maneuver
(11.6 m/s delta V) was performed using the lunar module descent propulsion
system (LMDPS) to place the spacecraft on a free-return trajectory which would
take it around the Moon and return to Earth, targeted at the Indian Ocean at
03:13 UT 18 April. After rounding the Moon another LMDPS burn at 02:40:39 UT 15
April for 263.4 seconds produced a differential velocity of 262 m/s and
shortened the estimated return time to 18:06 UT 17 April with splashdown in the
mid-Pacific. To conserve power and other consumables the lunar module was
powered down except for environmental control, communications, and telemetry,
and passive thermal control was established. At 04:32 UT on 16 April a 15 second
LMDPS burn at 10% throttle produced a 2.3 m/s velocity decrease and raised the
entry flight path angle to -6.52 degrees. Following this the crew partially
powered up the CSM. On 17 April at 12:53 UT a 22.4 second LMDPS burn put the
flight path entry angle at -6.49 degrees.
The service module, which had
been kept attached to the command module to protect the heat shield, was
jettisoned on 17 April at 13:15:06 UT and the crew took photographs of the
damage. The command module was powered up and lunar module was jettisoned at
16:43:02 UT. Any parts of the lunar module which survived atmospheric re-entry,
including the SNAP-27 generator, planned to power the ALSEP apparatus on the
lunar surface and containing 3.9 kg of plutonium, fell into the Pacific Ocean
northeast of New Zealand. Apollo 13 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on 17
April 1970 at 18:07:41 UT (1:07:41 p.m. EST) after a mission elapsed time of 142
hrs, 54 mins, 41 secs. The splashdown point was 21 deg 38 min S, 165 deg 22 min
W, SE of American Samoa and 6.5 km (4 mi) from the recovery ship USS Iwo Jima.
The spacecraft was the second of
the Apollo H-series. The purposes of the mission were (1) to explore the hilly
upland Fra Mauro region of the moon, (2) to perform selenological inspection,
survey, and sampling of material in the Fra Mauro formation, (3) to deploy and
activate an Apollo lunar surface experiments package (ALSEP), (4) to further
develop man's capability to work in the lunar environment, and (5) to obtain
photographs of candidate lunar exploration sites. These goals were to be carried
out from a near-circular lunar orbit and on the lunar surface at 3 deg S
latitude, 17 deg W longitude. Although the planned mission objectives were not
realized, a limited amount of photographic data was obtained. Lovell was a Navy
captain on his fourth spaceflight (he'd flown previously on Gemini 7, Gemini 12,
and Apollo 8), Haise and Swigert were both civilians on their first spaceflights.
The backup crew was John Young, Charles Duke, and John Swigert (who replaced
Thomas Mattingly on the prime crew after the crew was exposed to German
measles). The Apollo 13 Command Module "Odyssey" is now at the Kansas
Cosmosphere and Space Center, Hutchinson, Kansas. It was originally on display
at the Musee de l'Air, Paris, France.
Chronology of Events Surrounding the Apollo 13 accident
Events from 2.5 minutes before
the accident to about 5 minutes after
Times given are in Ground Elapsed
Time (G.E.T.), that is, the time elapsed since liftoff of Apollo 13 on 11 April
1970 at 19:13 UT (2:13 PM EST).
55:52:00 G.E.T. is equal to 03:05:00 UT 14 April 1970 (10:05 PM April 13 EST).
55:52:31 - Master caution and warning triggered by low hydrogen
pressure in tank no. 1
55:52:58 - CapCom (Jack Lousma): "13, we've got one more item
for you, when you get a chance. We'd like you to stir up
the cryo tanks. In addition, I have shaft and trunnion .....
55:53:06 - Swigert: "Okay."
55:53:07 - Lousma: ".... for looking at Comet Bennett, if you
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 ac bus 2 voltage.
55:53:22.772 - 11.1 amp rise in fuel cell 3 current for one
55:53:26 - Oxygen tank No. 2 pressure begins rise lasting for
55:53:38.057 - 11 volt decrease in ac bus 2 voltage for one
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
55:53:41.192 - Stabilization control system electrical
disturbance indicates a power transient.
55:54:00 - Oxygen tank No. 2 pressure rise ends at 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
55:54:45 - Oxygen tank No. 2 pressure reaches maximum value of
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 failed sensor.
55:54:52 - Oxygen tank No. 2 temperature sensor reads -151.3 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 1.17g,
0.65g, and 0.65g.
55:54:53.555 - Master caution and warning triggered by DC main
bus B 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 volts to 28.5 volts and DC main bus B
0.9 volts 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 off-scale high after telemetry recovery,
probably indicating failed sensors. Oxygen tank No. 2
pressure reads off-scale 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 and begins to drop.
55:54:57 - Oxygen tank No. 2 quantity reads off-scale high
following telemetry recovery indicating failed sensor.
55:55:01 - Oxygen flow rates to fuel cells 1 and 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 29.0 volts, DC
main bus B recovers to 28.8.
55:55:20 - Swigert: "Okay, Houston, we've had a problem here."
55:55:28 - Lousma: "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 - Lousma: "Roger. Main B undervolt"
55:55:49 - Oxygen tank No. 2 temperature begins steady drop
lasting 59 seconds indicating a 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 and warning there. And as I recall, main B
was the one that had an amp spike on it once before.
55:56:30 - Lousma: "Roger, Fred"
55:56:38 - Oxygen tank No. 2 quantity becomes erratic for 69
seconds before assuming an off-scale low state, indicating a
55:56:54 - Haise: "In the interim here, we're starting to go
ahead and 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 and warning triggered by DC main
bus B undervoltage. Alarm is turned off in 6 seconds.
55:57:40 - DC main bus B drops below 26.25 volts and 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 and D
is barber poled, helium 2, D is barber pole, and 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 and warning caused by AC bus 2 being
55:58:06 - Master caution and warning triggered by DC main bus
55:58:07 - DC main bus A drops below 26.25 volts and in the
next few seconds levels off 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. It's reading about 25 and a half. Main B is
reading zip right now."
56:00:06 - Master caution and warning triggered by high
hydrogen flow rate to fuel cell 2.