The lives of the Apollo 13 astronauts were threatened by a serious oxygen leak late Monday night (13 April) and they were forced to evacuate their command ship and use their intended moon-landing craft as a "lifeboat" for a fast return to earth.
MS Haise into LM, gives tour to earth viewers
MS Haise with water bottle
MS Moon from LM window
MS Map Apollo route
MS C. Kraft speaking
MS-2 shots C. Kraft and J. McDivitt speaking
EDITOR'S NOTE: THE IN-FLIGHT SPACE PICTURES SHOWN WERE TAKEN ABOUT 20 MINUTES BEFORE THE TROUBLE BEGAN AND WERE JUST ROUTINE IN NATURE.
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Background: The lives of the Apollo 13 astronauts were threatened by a serious oxygen leak late Monday night (13 April) and they were forced to evacuate their command ship and use their intended moon-landing craft as a "lifeboat" for a fast return to earth. The lunar landing mission was cancelled and the astronauts are now expected to make an emergency splashdown in the Pacific Ocean about noon on Friday (April 17). If there are any changes either induced or accidental it is thought that the landing would be noon on Thursday or midnight on Friday, but they have not said which ocean.
In a hastily called news conference in Houston, Christopher Kraft, deputy director of the Manned spacecraft Centre, said: "I think their chances are excellent at the moment, assuming their lunar module operates all right." He refused to speculate as to exactly what caused the difficulty; but James McDivitt, former astronaut and current spacecraft manager, did concede that the trouble was caused by a "very violent thing" and said that a meteoroid hit was a possibility.
The currently planned 62-hour return to earth is the shortest possible. The lunar module, although designed primarily for landing on the moon, was said to have enough oxygen and enough storage-battery electricity to see the three men through the emergency.