SUBTITLE: “Houston, we’ve had a problem.”
As of my 10:06 p.m. (U.S.) blog posting time, on this very April 13th night, 50 years ago… and 56 hours into the mission of Apollo 13… catastrophic consequences erupted following a routine “housekeeping” chore of “stirring” the spacecraft’s liquid oxygen tanks… so grave a situation that this necessitated the moonward bound astronaut Jack Swigert’s Earthward transmission of this spine chilling distress call…
“Houston, we’ve had a problem here.”
Mere moments later his mission commander, Jim Lovell, echoed that message, nearly verbatim,
“Houston, we’ve had a problem.”
Fred Haise, their crewmate, could’ve easily dittoed that, too, for all three of them were now “going down” with their rapidly “sinking” ship.
That S.O.S.… oft misquoted as “Houston, we’ve got a problem.” perhaps forevermore… will remain humanity’s phrase for calling attention to disasters great and small.
What happened next? Well, once Flight Director Gene Kranz’s ground crew had concluded that the quadruple failure of the spacecraft’s life sustaining hardware was irreparable, he had no other option but to immediately scrub the originally planned lunar landing and preside over the “launch” of a (literally on-the-fly) rescue mission.
Step one was to repurpose the Lunar Module into that of a lifeboat. The big problem… that craft was only intended to keep two astronauts alive for far less hours than it would take to get all three astronauts back to Earth… alive and well.
Up until April 17th, via my subsequent YouTube clip enhanced blogs, I’ll be recreating more key moments to chronicle the Apollo 13 rescue mission… NASA’s historic and heroic team effort… which will showcase human ingenuity and resolve at it’s very finest.