Sunday, April 10, 2011

For want of a thermistor the Moon was lost .... 41 years ago

For Want of a Nail 

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

So says an old proverb - small actions have huge consequences as they did 41 years ago ...

On April 12, 1970, the third planned mission to the moon was launched.

The Crew of Apollo 13

James A. Lovell, Mission Commander - command module pilot of Apollo 8, back-up commander for Apollo 11
John L. Swigert, Jr., Command Module Pilot
Fred W. Haise, Lunar Module Pilot

After Apollo 11 - the mission which put Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, Apollo 12 repeated this marvellous feat.  By the time Apollo 13 was schedule to fly, most observers were bored with this space travel going to the moon thing. The mission started out as a real yawner.

Until April 13, 1970, Commander Lovell said the following that has since become a catch phrase.

"Houston, we have a problem ..."

An explosion had crippled the service module (for the accident report, click here). A real life drama played out before the eyes of the world the next few days. And Ron Howard made a great movie about it in 1995:  Apollo 13

Apollo 13 has been known as NASA's Successful Failure and I witnessed it happen in real time - 40 years ago.

Question: If you are over 40, do you recall Apollo 13 in real time?

Picture form Wiki CommonsApollo 13 Insignia

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