Apollo 13

Apollo 13: Facts about almost a Tragedy Aboard - Part 2

Later, NASA accident-detecting commission stated that the wiring was exposed to oxygen, due to a set of manufacturing and combinational errors and lack of proper tests before flight. In the light of accident, the spark from a wiring in an non-hermetic tank with oxygen caused an ignition, causing one oxygen tank to tear and another to become damaged from the inside of the spaceship.

As the fuel department of Odyssey was enabled by oxygen, the amount of power left was miserable. Spacecraft controlling systems tried to stabilize the ship with the help of firing of small jets. However, it didn't help, as many of the jets were destroyed by the blow-up.

apollo 13, astronaut

Fortunately, Apollo 13 had a working backup to Odyssey - Aquarius. Aquarius was aimed for landing on the Moon, and didn't have a heat protection that could help the team to come back home. However, Aquarius could have provided enough time for them to get close to Earth and in needed moment to go back to Odyssey for the rest of their journey.

Haise and Lovell consistently and obstinately worked to prepare Aquarius to flight in less time than expected, while Swigert was still in Odyssey to stop its systems to save powers for water landing.

Freezing time before water landing

It was the greatest challenge in their life to keep up harmony in power consumption on Aquarius in order to get home. As soon as they made an essential energy usage to turn the Aquarius towards the Earth, the team kept the system and indicators on their lowest level to reduce energy consumption.

The crew had no heating source, so the temperature in the spacecraft rapidly dropped to a very cold one. The part of the food there spoiled due to low temperatures. Problem with water occurred as well, because Aquarius that wasn't designed to work for such long time needed water to cool down the hardware.

At that time, on Earth, the flight director Gene Kranz tried to control the system in a way to reduce the amount of water and energy used on a spacecraft. Some other control teams constructed special daily routine for astronauts to keep their health indicators on a normal level. The manufacturers of Apollo series worked almost 24/7 to provide a proper consultation to the crew members. The journey to home for a whole crew was a great stress: all of them had lost weight and Haise got a progressed kidney infection. Few hours before the water landing, the crew had transferred to an Odyssey, having no clue whether the heat reactor would explode or not, because it hadn't been working for a long time. They were working for their own risk, and the system was so damaged that they were lucky to get home.

apollo 13

On the 17th of April, three astronauts came back on earth and landed in the Pacific Ocean. The accident on Apollo 13 gave a push to development and remodeling of all the Apollo series, the mistakes were corrected, so such situations would be avoided in the future.

In a strange way, Apollo 13 accident left an imprint on the NASA's image, and due to the fact that NASA dealt with the problem in the open space and all the astronauts came home they have only won from this situation.


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