Apollo 13 was the seventh manned mission in the U.S. Apollo space program
and the third intended to land on the Moon. The craft was successfully launched
toward the Moon on Saturday, April 11, 1970, but the landing had to be aborted
two days later on the 13th after an oxygen tank ruptured, severely damaging the spacecraft’s electrical system. The flight was commanded by James A. Lovel
(above right) with John ‘Jack’ Swigert (center) as Command Module pilot and
Fred W. Haise (left) as Lunar Module pilot. Swigert was a late replacement for
the original CM pilot Ken Mattingly, who was grounded by the flight surgeon
after exposure to German Measles. To conserve its batteries and the oxygen
needed for the last hours of flight, the crew instead used the Lunar Module’s
resources during the return trip to Earth. Despite great hardship caused by
limited power,loss of cabin heat, shortage of suitable water and the critical
need to jury-rig the carbon dioxide removal system, the crew returned safely
to Earth on Friday, April 17. NASA called the mission a "successful failure”.
Apollo 13 crew arrive on the prime recovery ship U.S.S. Iwo Jima after a
successful splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.