April 13, 1970.
Mission Control, Houston, April 13, 1970
NASA – Apollo 13, NASA’s third crewed mission to the moon, launched on April 11, 1970. Two days later, on April 13, while the mission was en route to the moon, a fault in the electrical system of one of the Service Module’s oxygen tanks produced an explosion that caused both oxygen tanks to fail and also led to a loss of electrical power.
The Command Module remained functional on its own batteries and oxygen tank, but these were usable only during the last hours of the mission. The crew shut down the Command Module and used the Lunar Module as a “lifeboat” during the return trip to Earth. Despite great hardship caused by limited power, loss of cabin heat, and a shortage of potable water, the crew returned to Earth, and the mission was termed a “successful failure.”
This photograph of the Mission Operations Control Room in the Mission Control Center at the Manned Spacecraft Center (now Johnson Space Center), Houston, was taken on April 13, 1970, during the fourth television transmission from the Apollo 13 mission. Eugene F. Kranz (foreground, back to camera), one of four Apollo 13 flight directors, views the large screen at front as astronaut Fred W. Haise Jr., Lunar Module pilot, is seen on the screen.
More: The Flight of Apollo 13
April 9, 1959.
The Mercury Astronauts
NASA – On April 9, 1959, NASA’s first administrator, Dr. Keith Glennan, announced the names of the agency’s first group of astronauts at a news conference in Washington, D.C. Now known as the “Original Seven,” they included three Naval aviators, M. Scott Carpenter, Walter M. Schirra Jr., and Alan B. Shepard Jr.; three Air Force pilots, L. Gordon Cooper Jr., Virgil I. (Gus) Grissom, and Donald K. (Deke) Slayton; along with Marine Corps aviator John H. Glenn Jr.
This group photo of the original Mercury astronauts was taken in June 1963 at the Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC), now Johnson Space Center, in Houston, Texas. The astronauts are, left-to-right: Cooper, Schirra, Shepard, Grissom, Glenn, Slayton and Carpenter.
Project Mercury became NASA’s first major undertaking. The objectives of the program were to place a human-rated spacecraft into orbit around Earth, observe the astronaut’s performance in such conditions and safely recover the astronaut and the spacecraft. The Mercury flights proved that humans could live and work in space, and paved the way for the Gemini and Apollo programs as well as for all further human spaceflight.
Bean Walks on the Moon
NASA – Astronaut Alan L. Bean, Lunar Module pilot, pauses near a tool carrier during the Apollo 12 spacewalk on the moon’s surface. Commander Charles Conrad, Jr., who took the black-and-white photo, is reflected in Bean’s helmet visor.
NASA – On Oct. 22, 1968, the Apollo 7 crew is welcomed aboard the USS Essex, the prime recovery ship for the mission. This was the first Apollo splashdown and, therefore, the first three person ‘landing’ for NASA.
Left to right, are astronauts Walter M. Schirra Jr., commander; Donn F. Eisele, command module pilot; and, Walter Cunningham, lunar module pilot. In left background is Dr. Donald E. Stullken, NASA Recovery Team Leader from the Manned Spacecraft Center‘s Landing and Recovery Division.