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Friday, April 17, 2020

Apollo 13

Apollo 13 successfully returned to Earth and landed in the Pacific Ocean 50 years ago today. Apollo 13 was to be the third mission to land on the moon but the lunar landing was aborted after an oxygen tank in the service module failed two days into the mission. A routine stir of an oxygen tank ignited damaged wire insulation inside it, causing an explosion that vented the contents of both service module oxygen tanks into space. It was at this time that Command Module pilot John Swigert uttered a phrase that was to become famous, “Okay, Houston, we've had a problem." The flight director for Apollo 13 was the legendary Gene Kranz. Using “courage, ingenuity, and teamwork" Kranz and his team was able to guide the astronauts into the undamaged Lunar Module and then the Command Module for the safe return to Earth. It is a great honor to have Gene's autograph hanging in Tranquility Base Arcade.