Apollo 13: ‘Houston, We’ve Had a Problem’


“Houston, we’ve had a problem” is the now famous phrase radioed from Apollo 13 to Mission Control upon the catastrophic explosion that dramatically changed the mission.
On the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 13 mission, we recognize the triumph of the mission control team and the astronauts, and look at the lessons learned. The Apollo 13 mission has become known as “a successful failure” that saw the safe return of its crew Commander James (Jim) Lovell Jr., Command Module Pilot John Swigert Jr. and Lunar Module Pilot Fred Haise Jr.

Thanks to Stephen Slater and Ben Feist/Apollo in Real Time (apolloinrealtime.org/13) for providing additional footage and audio. Thanks for Andy Saunders for providing additional enhanced images.

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  1. If anybody is an aspiring writer; remember that if this never happened, if the mission had been success and not a successful failure. The world would have barely noticed…

    Conflict in any book is essential; disagreement in any book is essential. Remember that when writing a complex situation, have the characters agree as little as possible; so that if the reader is intrigued by the initial conflict, they are further drawn in by the subtle disagreements between characters that separates their personalities. While we are oriented to agreement in life; doing this with characters makes the book boring, and if you write it, I believe you will feel the same.

    How do you tell if someone likes your book, a scene, chapter, or is even interested in continuing? If you are inspired while writing it, if you yourself are motivated to go above and beyond what is just blatant rushing and white noise. If you get on every day and write a chapter or more a day. If you tell your friends and your family about it; unafraid of your ideas. Never be afraid of out of the box ideas; never be afraid to pursue and expand upon something. To write about it; give it life and even nurture it into something beautiful.

    Some of the best books today started out as mere ideas by an aspiring, or experienced writer. The limits; are only you as a person, and what you let define you and your ideas.

  2. Losing engine 5 was nearly a mission ender, too. FORTUNATELY for the crew altitude and velocity attained was enough to maintain acceleration with that heavy load. One little tweak between smooth flight and a full on abort! …closer than they let on.

  3. Since there are no manned moon missions planned in fifty years, it's safe to say Americans will be the only men in human history to walk on the lunar surface. Lots of dreamer talk, but I see it's still from folks who think like there might be cheese up there!

  4. Apollo 13 was a major success in every human way possible. After NASA stupidly used a pure O2 atmosphere to burn up the first crew, we were sweating bullets until we saw those smiles…

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