Tuesday, April 11, 2017

On this Day in Government Documents: April 11th, 1970, The Launch of the Ill-Fated Apollo 13

Forty-seven years ago today Apollo 13 launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida with every intention of being the third manned mission to land on the moon. The trajectory of this mission soon changed from a space odyssey to a rescue effort that tested the ingenuity of the flight crew and the Houston flight controllers. Not only did this incredible event inspire a major motion picture (which misquoted “Houston, we’ve had a problem” with “Houston, we have a problem,” not an uncommon mistake as seen in the second government document titled, “Houston, we’ve got a problem”) but it also launched a bevy of government documents ranging from congressional hearings regarding the mission and the accident to a four volume chronology on the spacecraft, all available for your research needs at the Worcester Public Library. Click here to see documents published by the U.S. government on Apollo 13 held at Worcester Public Library.   

Apollo 13: "Houston, we've got a problem"


 "SPACECRAFT - Hey, we've got a problem here.
     Thus, calmly, Command Module Pilot Jack Swigert gave the first intimation 
of serious trouble for Apollo 13 - 200,000 miles from Earth.
     CAPSULE COMMUNICATOR - This is Houston; say again, please. 
     SPACECRAFT - Houston, we've had a problem. We've had a Main B bus undervolt."


"For three long minutes no word was heard from the
spacecraft as friction with the air raised the heat shield to a
fiery glow that blacked out radio communication."


BONUS: The Apollo spacecraft: a chronology is available as an online resource!

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