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tv   Reel America Houston Weve Got a Problem  CSPAN  August 14, 2021 1:30am-2:01am EDT

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documentary that tells the story of the crisis which nearly left
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three astronauts stranded in space. >> this little tape recorder has been a big benefit to us in passing time away in our transit out to the mound and it's rather odd to see us floating like this in odyssey. while it's playing the scene from 2011. >> april 13th, 1970. the mood could only be described adds relaxed. apollo 13, man's fifth lunar mission. the third scheduled to land on the moon continued its tranquil coast. >> this is the crew of apollo 13. nice evening and we're just about ready to close out our inspection of aquarius and get back to a pleasant evening at odyssey.
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goodnight. >> 13, we have one more item for you when you get a chance, we'd like you to stir up your cryo tanks. in addition, i have a shaft and trunnion to look at the common bennett if you need it. >> okay. stand by. okay. houston, we have a problem here. >> this is houston. say again, please. >> houston, we have a problem. we have had a main bust on our volt. >> stand by 13. we're looking at it. >> we had a pretty large bang associated with the warning and as i recall main b was the one that had had that had had a spike on it once before. >> in the interim here we're starting to go ahead and button up the tunnel again. >> april 11th, 1970. launch day. the crew of apollo 13. jim lovell commander and veteran of three previous missions. he had orbited the moon
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christmas 1968 on apollo 8. fred haise, his first time up, lunar module pilot. jack swiggert, three days ago he was on the backup crew, now he replaced ken the mattingly. mattingly had been left out of the mission because he had been exposed to german measles. >> auto sequence initiated. >> roger. >> flight booster. >> pre press complete. >> roger. >> s 1c complete. we are on internal power. >> roger. how does it look? >> looks good. >> okay. >> mcc recorder at flight speed. >> ignition flight. >> roger. >> looks good here, flight.
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>> okay. booster. >> looks good. >> cap com, we are on the ground. >> okay. we're go at one, cap com. >> white. >> roger. >> booster, how do you look? >> we look good. >> okay. >> we're go, flight, looks good here. >> good flight. >> okay. econ. >> looks good. >> go for staging, cap com. >> confirm. >> roger. >> roger. >> flight trajectory confirmed staging. >> roger. >> flight booster the inboard out. >> okay. >> flight confirmed. number five engine down. >> boost, you don't see any problem with that, do you? >> negative. not right now, flight. all the other engines are go. >> the next step in the routine
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of lunar flight was to burn out of earth orbit toward the moon, then pull free of the third stage and dock with the lunar module aquarius. at the controls of the command module odyssey jack swiggert. >> we are hard docked, houston. >> good deal. >> they pulled aquarius away from the saturn third stage, the s4b. >> i can see the s4b at the hatch window. >> odyssey and aquarius moved away from earth toward the moon. >> houston, we have a problem here. >> go guidance. >> we have had a hardware restart. i don't know what it was. >> okay. houston, we have had a problem. we have had a main b buzz volt.
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>> ac bus inter volt guidance or e com? >> negative. >> we have a main b -- >> we may have had an implementation problem, rog. >> we had a pretty large bang associated with the warning there. >> the sensation i had that i had felt a vibration accompanying the bang, not a large vibration or shutter. >> is there any kind of leads we can give him. do we have a real problem? >> we're reading zero pressure and 13 ps oichlt on fuel cell pressure. >> what do you want to do. >> shut down the reactor valve and i asked for a reconfirmation since when you do that it's irreversible if you shut one of these things down they only can be restarted by ground support equipment.
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>> that's because of ac. it looks to me looking out the hatch that we are venting something. we are venting something out into the -- into space. >> okay. let's everybody think of the kind of things we would be venting. g & c, do you have anything that looks abnormal in your system? >> negative, flight. >> how about you, e com, do you see anything with the instrumentation you've got that could be vetting. >> that's affirmed flight. let me look at the system as far as the venting is concerned. >> okay. let's start scanning. >> there is a bulletin from abc news, the apollo 13 spacecraft has had a serious power fly malfunction that could cause the lunar landing mission to be terminated early. >> i assume you've called in your backup e coms. >> say again. >> have you called in your backup e coms. >> we have one here. >> at the moment the astronauts are continuing to try to isolate their trouble. the spacecraft is operating on battery power alone. all unnecessary equipment is being turned off. >> okay.
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now let's everybody keep cool. we have lemm still attached, the lemm spacecraft is good so if we need to get back home we have a lemm to do a good portion of it with. okay. let's make sure that we don't do anything that's going to blow our csm electrical power with the batteries or that will cause us to lose the main -- or the fuel cell number 2. okay. we want to keep the 02 and that kind of stuff working. we'd like to have our cs but we have the command module system so we are in good shape if we need to get home. let's solve the problem but let's not make it any worse by guessing. >> my concern is increasing all the time. it went from i wonder what this is going to do from the landing to i wonder if we can get back home again. >> okay. i'm coming back to you. flight. >> go ahead. >> i think the best thing we can do right now is power down. >> right about then it was quite apparent to me that it was just a question of time that the
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command module is going to be dead. >> you don't want to get fuel cell pumps off, do you? >> we can do that on fuel cell number 1 flight. >> let's make sure we don't blow the whole mission. >> the thing that concerns me is throwing equipment. we had a problem, we don't know the cause of the problem. >> flight, i have a feeling we've lost two fuel cells. i hate it put it that way, but i don't know why we've lost them. it doesn't all tag up. >> network from flight. >> flight network. >> bring me up the computer on the rtc, will you. >> we've got one machine rtc and fuel cps down stairs. >> i want another machine up and i want a bunch of guys capable of dunning d logs down there. >> roger that. >> what all this means is only speculation at this point. first, though there has been some tumbling or rotation of the spacecraft the astronauts do not appear to be in any immediate danger. >> i will tell you what, g & c, can you get somebody in the back room to try to figure out what
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the equivalent delta v is we're getting so that we can see if we can backtrack to see if we can figure out what's venting. >> roger, we will give it a try, flight. >> okay. >> when i looked up and saw both oxygen pressures one at 0 and the other one going down, it dawned on me and i'm sure jack and fred about the same time that we were indeed in serious trouble. the only way to survive the situation was to transfer to the lemm. >> flight e com. >> go ahead e com. >> the pressure in 02 tank is down to 297. we better think about getting in the lemm or using the lemm systems. >> i'd say this is a serious situation as we have ever had in manned spaceflight. we have always called the lemm is good life boat under those circumstances. if at any time in the mission, however, the lemm had separated and we would have gotten ourselves into a rendezvous situation or the command module
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being around the moon, then what you state is absolutely true. it would be a fatal situation. >> flight. >> go ahead, flight. >> i want you to get some guys figuring out minimum power in the lemm to sustain life. >> the accident had occurred 200,000 miles from earth. lovell, swieg dbert and haise rode in the lemm module. it started as scientific exploration, it was now a matter of survival. since the command module was dead except for the oxygen and power hoortded for re-entry the guidance platform of aquarius would have to be used. >> the first milestone and i consider this after the accident, i guess, more or less the survival now, the first milestone was to get alignment on the lemm platform.
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alignments are important, you know, because without knowing exactly which way the attitude of the spacecraft is in space there is no way to tell how to burn or how to use the engine for that spacecraft to get the proper trajectory to come home. >> the position we are now in the earth/moon plane we have to go around the moon to get back if we're going to use the ship's engine. you would have had enough capability with the sts engine but we don't dare use that now. so we have to go to the backside of the moon and come back. >> to get into the correct orbit around the moon the crew had burned out of a trajectory that would automatically bring them back to earth. they would have to get back on to a safe course toward earth. >> he needs to put his throttle to man also flight. >> throttle to min. >> he is at 29% now roughly. >> this maneuver, again, was completed on time and because it was a manual burn we had a three-man operation, jack would
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take care of the time, would he tell us when to light off the engine, when to stop it, fred handled pitch maneuver, i handled the roll maneuver and i pushed the buttons to start and stop the engines. >> aquarius, you're going for the burn. >> 40%. >> okay. aquarius, you're looking good. >> auto shut down. >> the first problem was solved, they were back on the path to earth, but there were many other problems to be solved. from a building at houston's manned spacecraft center systems experts coordinated the coast to coast effort to get the crew back. one of the big problems was consumables. there would be enough to eat and drink, but in space there are other factors, oxygen to breathe, electrical power to keep the spacecraft alive, water
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to cool the equipment and keep it operating. >> what we will be doing until we get them back on the water is concentrating on everything that is -- their lives with dependent upon at the moment rather than worrying about the accident. there's nothing we can do about that now. it appears at the present time that everything is under control and that we have a safe situation at the moment. >> i want to say you guys are doing real good work. >> so are you guys, jack. >> we are about 70 hours from home and we think we have the situation in control, we've projected the consumables as i've described and we have a plan for carrying out the rest of the mission, but there is going to be no relaxation at all as far as that goes from now until splash. >> there was a key decision to be made before apollo 13 went behind the moon, where to bring
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them down. their present course would take them to the indian ocean where recovery would be difficult. a burn to bring them home quicker would take them to the pacific ocean near the recovery forces. bringing them home even faster would place them in the south atlantic, again, away from recovery forces. it was decided to take them to the pacific. >> these simulators here and at the cape and the contractors continuously ever since last night we've tried to simulate virtually everything that we have had the crew to do that is not normal that they've done and we've proven most everything that we've been able to run on the simulator prior to passing it up. there may be some details we haven't done but at least we've checked the feasibility of everything we have done and will continue to do that. >> they've passed 137 miles from the moon.
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for lovell it was the second time that he had seen the moon so near, but there was no time for contemplation, there was another critical burn coming. >> let's get the cameras put away. >> and in houston the news men poured in to tell an anxious world the story. >> shortly after apollo 13 had separated from the saturn third stage the stage had been set on to a trajectory toward the moon, its impact would be recorded by the seismometer left by apollo 12. >> by the way, aquarius, we see the results now from 12's seismometer, looks like your booster just hit the moon and it's rocking it a little bit. over. >> well, at least something worked on this flight.
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>> i'm sure glad we didn't have a lemm impact, too. >> jim, you are go for the burn. go for the burn. >> go for the burn. >> guidance okay. >> we're good, flight. >> control okay. >> we're okay, flight. >> we're go, flight. >> okay. >> we're good, flight. >> ground confirms ignition. >> we're burning 40%. >> houston, you're looking good. >> roger. shut down. >> roger, shut down. >> we will say it was a good burn. >> roger. we want to power down as soon as possible. >> i understand. >> to conserve the electric power and cooling water the crews shut down all but the vital life sustaining systems of the lemm. >> i think the lemm's spacecraft is in extra shape and it's fully capable of getting the crew
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back. i think as we have found before every time we have put the lemm spacecraft to a test it's always done more than it was intended to do and this is a good case in point. >> conserve the consumables, cooling water, electric power. >> the lemm water gun was leaking and we shut that off. i guess it leaked about a quarter of water i would estimate. it took me two days to get my feet dry. i think you were all aware that the temperatures were going down and both vehicles made for very chilly feet for a couple of
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days. >> lord, your astronauts will come back safe. >> if i may be serious for one moment and ask the entire audience for a moment of prayer for the crewmen of the apollo 13. we will hold silence for a moment, please.
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>> rcsa stands at 62% and b at 62%. >> we have gone a hell of a long time without any sleep. needless say i'm thinking about getting back to sleep again because i -- i didn't get any sleep last night at all. >> command module, just slowly kept going down in temperature until i think just prior to re-entry it was down to about 38 degrees. along with that it was sort of a chilling coldness, the walls were perspiring, the windows were completely wet and it wasn't too healthy. i recall that we went in there to get some hotdogs one day and it was like reaching into the freezer for the food.
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>> so if you want my opinion how to handle the situation when it happened, it happened like we expected it to. they were about as well on top of it as anybody could do which isn't very much. i'll have to admit. i think we did everything that was available to us in a timely fashion which is all we expected. we did a beautiful job of it. >> we had a third little sleep restraint which fred put on and kept warm. >> the astronauts faced another problem. their own exhaled breath. the lithium hydroxide chemical to take carbon dioxide out of air was not sufficient in a lunar module. they would have to adapt the canisters from the module to fit the hoses. on the ground they adapted from the materials they had available. cardboard from a check list.
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plastic bags and tape. after checkout, in an environmental chamber, the directions for construction were sent up to aquarius. >> at this point in time, i think the partial pressure of carbon dioxide was that 15 milliliters. i think within an hour, the partial pressure of co 2 was down to .2. >> so you see survival became one of initiative and ingenuity and it was one which the ground continually helped us we had all kinds of people thinking of how the extend our lifetime. >> there would be another burn. to get it into the narrow corridor of the atmosphere for a safe return to earth. >> ignition.
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>> the thrust looks good. >> shut down. >> hang if there. it won't be long. >> there were moments i didn't know how much consumables we had, whether we could make it back or not. in a situation like that, there is only one thing you can do. you just keep going and you keep thinking about where you get more consumables. so that's exactly what we did. >> on april 17th, they prepared for reentry. after a small course correction burn, they jetsoned the damaged service module. >> is that right? >> the whole thing was blown out. almost from the base to the entrance. >> really a mess. >> that's unbelievable.
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>> next they got back into odyssey to jettson into the at moss ferry. >> we would like it and welcome home.
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>> odyssey houston standing by. over. >> okay. >> odyssey houston, we show you on the main. it really looks great. >> apollo 13. apollo 13. recovery, over. >> apollo 13, your chutes look good. >> apollo 13. this is recovery. we have heard you. >> apollo 13 is descending.
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command module is stable at this time. your vertical action is approximately 13 degrees.
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>> i recall, captain, when i spoke to you on the phone, you said that you regretted that you were unable to complete your mission. i here by declare that this was a successful mission. from the start, the exploration of space hazardous adventure. they dramatized the risk. the men of apollo 13 by their poise and skill under the most intense kind of pressure epitomized the character that accepts danger and surmounts it. theirs is the spirit that filled
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america. your mission served our country. it serves to remind us all of our proud heritage of a nation. to remind us in this age of technicians and scientific marvels, that the individual still counts. that in a crisis, the character of a man or of men will make the difference. procedures. go. network. go. go. roger. ♪♪
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former nasa flight director gene kranz discusses his life and career culminating with stories about apollo 11 and apollo 13. >> may 5, 1961.
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