More than half a century later, the Apollo 13 mission continues to fascinate audiences.
April 17 marks the 51st anniversary of the crew’s safe return to Earth, known as Splashdown Day.
Here are 10 things to know about Apollo 13:
Apollo 13 was NASA’s third moon-landing mission.
More than a half-century later, Apollo 13 is still considered “NASA’s finest hour.”
The mission is considered “a successful failure” because the astronauts returned safely to Earth despite the explosion.
It was flight director Gene Kranz and his team in Houston who came up with a rescue plan.
“Houston, we’ve had a problem” were the famous words spoken from the mission.
The astronauts were 200,000 miles from Earth when their oxygen tank ruptured two days after its launch.
Due to low electrical power levels, the cabin temperature was close to freezing as condensation covered the walls and windows. It was so damp and cold that the astronauts couldn’t sleep.
As Apollo 13 re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere there was a blackout period that prevented the crew from communicating with mission control. The blackout period lasted 90 seconds longer than usual.
The splashdown occurred in the Pacific Ocean on April 17, 1970, after a nearly six-day flight.
The oxygen tank explosion later was linked to damage caused by electrical overheating in ground tests.
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