An oxygen tank explosion on day two of the mission led to great hardships for the crew. The craft lost cabin heat, had limited power, and had a water shortage. The crew returned to earth on April 17 and are seen here meeting with President Richard Nixon on day later. The mission was dramatized in the movie Apollo 13.
Richard M. Nixon meeting with Apollo 13 astronauts in Hawaii., 04/18/1970
(16 April 1970) — This photograph of Earth was taken from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Apollo 13 spacecraft during its trans-Earth journey home. The most visible land mass includes southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. The peninsula of Baja California is clearly seen. Most of the land area is under heavy cloud cover. The Apollo 13 crew consisted of astronauts James A. Lovell Jr., commander; John L. Swigert Jr., command module pilot; and Fred W. Haise Jr., lunar module pilot.
I ordered this used copy of Jim Lovell’s book “Lost Moon” on Amazon for $4.36. It arrived today. Not only is it a first edition, but when I opened the cover, there was a promotional bookplate hand-signed…in ballpoint pen complete with pen-tip debris…by Jim Lovell.
Introducing one of my new favorite LIFE sets: Jack Swigert at Home. These are from a series of photos that were taken by Ralph Morse at Swigert’s apartment, a few days after Swigert returned to Houston following his Apollo 13 mission in April 1970. I’ll be posting many more of these photos within the next few days.
(17 April 1970) — This view of the severely damaged Apollo 13 Service Module (SM) was photographed from the Lunar Module/Command Module (LM/CM) following SM jettisoning. An entire SM panel was blown away by the apparent explosion of oxygen tank number two. Two of the three fuel cells are visible at the forward portion of the opening. The hydrogen tanks are located in Sector 4 of the Apollo 13 SM. The apparent rupture of the oxygen tank caused the Apollo 13 crew members to use the LM as a “lifeboat.” The LM was jettisoned just prior to Earth re-entry by the CM.