Jack Swigert

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More inspiration. This time Apollo 13. Photos of the apparatus created to filter out carbon dioxide exhaust after an oxygen tank exploded and partially crippled their spacecraft.

This story is crazy enough as it is. I can’t help but think about how Apollo 12 gets struck by lightning and continues on just fine, but Apollo 13 has to abort their mission.

Crazy.

Apollo 13 Astronauts Safe on Earth

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

More at the Apollo 13 Mission page at NASA.

(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.

John London “Jack” Swigert ((August 30, 1931 – December 27, 1982).

His only mission was on the Apollo 13 mission.  He was elected into U.S. House of Representatives but died of cancer just days before he would have started his term.

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The CO2 filter (made of the CM filter, sock, duct tape, and paper) made by Mission Control and the Apollo 13 crew was used to fix the CO2 problem on their Lunar Module Lifeboat. It was one of the greatest things invented by NASA due to its simplicity and effective use. It is now often used in business classes to demonstrate the effectiveness of working together

Apollo 13: To align the crippled spacecraft for the correct reentry trajectory, the crew had to make another burn of the Lunar Module descent engine. Were they in the correct attitude to perform this critical task? They had no computer to help them and they couldn’t sight by the stars (due to the debris still encircling the service module). There was one star that was easy to see: our sun. In a procedure that Lovell had tried on Apollo 8, they could use the earth’s terminator (day/night line) and the sun to align the spacecraft to make the flight correction. All three crew members were involved: Lovell to fire the engine and control yaw, Haise to keep the pitch correct and Swigert to time the burn. The burn took place late on April 15th and did indeed put them back on line. Read more about this procedure at the link. Photo is from MOCR on April 16, as they monitor Apollo 13′s return.

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