The Apollo 13 astronauts successfully fired the engine of their lunar landing craft Tuesday morning to put their crippled spacecraft on a safe course for home.
The Apollo 13 astronauts successfully fired the engine of their lunar landing craft Tuesday morning to put their crippled spacecraft on a safe course for home. As James Lovell, Fred Haise and John Swigert coasted toward the moon, controllers at the mission control centre in Houston continued to work out the best and safest way to return then to earth.
Speaking to newsmen at the Manned Space Centre, Apollo 13 Mission Director Glynn Lunncy gave a detailed account of what had happened to the spacecraft late Monday night, and how the return to earth was being planned. The critical element was the continued stable operation of the lunar module, said Lunney, "but we are seventy hours from here and we have to keep it that way." The youthful director said that oxygen, water and power supplies in the lunar module were more than sufficient to get them back. He pointed out, however, that the astronauts must conserve electrical power very carefully.
Because of the complete loss of the main oxygen supply in the service module, the command ship cannot operate normally. Its systems have been shut off completely or put on the lowest possible operating levels while the astronauts have transferred to the LM.
Commenting on the recovery of the astronauts, General Daniel Jones said that they are well prepared the rescue the astronauts from landing sites in either the Pacific or Atlantic Oceans.
The planned landing site is rear New Zealand, where the astronauts will splashdown shortly after 1 P.M. on Friday if all goes well.