Timeline Description: The Apollo 13 mission was intended as a lunar landing. An explosion in one of the oxygen tanks required mission commanders to cut the mission short. The crew was at great risk, but did, successfully splash down and live through the mission with minimal ill effects.
|August 1969||Crew Assignments Announced
In August 1969, the crew assignments were announced for Apollo 13. The mission commander was James A. Lovell Jr.
|March 24, 1970||Oxygen Tank Failure
During a countdown demonstration test, a problem with the oxygen tanks was on the Apollo shuttle was noted. Each of the two oxygen tanks held 320 lbs. of oxygen. During the test, the second tank did not empty properly.
|April 11, 1970||Launch of Apollo 13
Apollo 13 launched on April 11, 1970, on schedule. While there was a minor anomaly during liftoff, the liftoff was successful and the mission proceeded normally for the first 56 hours.
|April 14, 1970||Oxygen Tank Exploded
After a television broadcast on April 14, the crew was asked to power on the oxygen tank fans. They did so, and approximately two minutes later, a loud pop or bang was heard. Power fluctuated and communications with earth went down briefly.
|April 14, 1970||CSM Power Down, LM Power Up
The oxygen tanks served not only to provide the crew with air, but also as a key part of the power source for the shuttle. With the oxygen tank failure, the crew was forced to power down the command service module and use the lunar module as a lifeboat of sorts. Life support on the lunar module was minimal, and only barely adequate.
|April 14, 1970||Specialists Gathered
As soon as news spread of the accident, mission command gathered, bringing in off duty specialists, and specialists from around the country at various sites to brainstorm solutions to bring the crew home alive.
|April 15, 1970||Closest Approach to Moon
On April 15, 1970, Apollo 13 made its closest approach to the moon. The lunar landing had been called off following the accident.
|April 17, 1970||Splashdown
After careful assessment, a plan was made to bring the astronauts home. The command module had to be powered up from a complete shut down, and adaptations made to the lunar module to remove excess carbon dioxide. The landing plan was successful.
|April 17, 1970||Crew Rescued
Some 45 minutes after landing, the crew was rescued. All were healthy, but one crew member had a urinary tract infection caused by dehydration.
|April 17, 1970||Edgar Cortright Assigned to Review Board
On April 17, 1970, Edgar Cortright was assigned to head the Apollo 13 Review Board, designed to determine the cause of the accident and address any errors.
|April 21, 1970||Review Board Assembled
By April 21, 1970, NASA had assembled the investigative review board for the Apollo 13 accident.
|June 15, 1970||Final Report Submitted
On June 15, 1970, the final report was submitted, showing flaws in the oxygen tank that led to the accident.
|1995||Apollo 13 Film Released
While there was a television coverage during the Apollo 13 mission, the best known media portrayal is Tom Hanks' 1995 film, Apollo 13. Hanks later worked on a television special illustrating the perspective of mission control.