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'Houston, we've had a problem' – 50th Anniversary of Apollo 13

Back in April of 1970, three astronauts were in danger after an accident on a small spacecraft heading to the moon.

CLEVELAND — Apollo 13 launched on April 11th, 1970 with Cleveland native James Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise on board. A routine stir of an oxygen tank ignited an explosion that altered the mission. The accident happened at 10:06pm on April 13th. 

Mission commander James Lovell alerted NASA with the transmission of “Houston, we've had a problem”. The explosion damaged the service module. It was decided to use the lunar module as a lifeboat to swing shot around the moon. The crew safely returned to Earth on April 17th.

During a visit to Cleveland in 2008, James Lovell briefly recounted the mission. “When the explosion first occurred, we didn’t know what happened. And we, at first, didn’t think we were in that danger until I saw the oxygen escaping from the spacecraft and then I realized that we were in serious danger,” remembered Lovell.

Lovell credits those in mission control for his safe return. “The motivation of these people working with the crew indicated that Apollo 13 was not just another space flight of dangerous situations, but really a classic case of crisis management,” stated Lovell.

NASA’s current Artemis mission will to return man and take the first woman to the moon. Lovell, traveled to the moon twice, on Apollo 8 and Apollo 13, but never got to walk on it. He believes the exploration of the moon should continue. “I think that we should go back to the moon. I think that the exploration of the moon has just begun, we have never seen much of the far side of it except for pictures. It would be a good beginning to a long affair of space exploration both manned and unmanned to our various planets of our solar system and manned to Mars,” said Lovell.

You can watch more about Apollo 13 and Lovell's visit to Cleveland in the player below:

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