Apollo 13

On the night of April 13, 1970–43 years ago today–the words “Houston, we’ve had a problem” were uttered when an oxygen tank in the Service Module of the moon bound Apollo 13 exploded. The Lunar Module pilot of that mission, Fred W. Haise,Jr., gave a speech at Northrup-Grumman (builder of the Lunar Module) in July, 1995. My father-in-law was there (he worked on the B-2 project) and got Haise to sign and personalize a photograph to my wife and me.

Fred Haise, Jr.

Fred W. Haise, Jr.

I’m old enough to remember this event, just as I can remember the first moon landing. I was just 13 when Apollo 13 launched–at 13:13 CST on April 11. They returned safely to Earth on April 17.

According to Wikipedia:

As a joke following Apollo 13’s successful splashdown, Grumman Aerospace Corporation pilot Sam Greenberg (who had helped with the strategy for re-routing power from the LM to the crippled CM) issued a tongue-in-cheek invoice for $400,540.05 to North American Rockwell, Pratt and Whitney, and Beech Aircraft,[33][34] prime and subcontractors for the Command/Service Module (CSM), for “towing” the crippled ship most of the way to the Moon and back. The figure was based on an estimated 400,001 miles (643,739 km) at $1.00 per mile, plus $4.00 for the first mile. An extra $536.05 was included for battery charging, oxygen, and an “additional guest in room” (Swigert). A 20% “commercial discount”, as well as a further 2% discount if North American were to pay in cash, reduced the total to $312,421.24.[35] North American declined payment, noting that it had ferried three previous Grumman LMs to the Moon (Apollo 10, Apollo 11 and Apollo 12) with no such reciprocal charges.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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