Mission objective

1. To improve lunar landing accuracy techniques.
2. To perform television coverage, Sample collection of moon's surface element.
3. To perform Low light photography to be performed on the lunar surface, Study and deep analysis of lunar's soil etc.

Apollo 13, a manned spaceflight mission was the 7th mission of the Apollo space mission program and also the third manned spaceflight to land on the moon's surface. This Apollo mission was the second mission of the Apollo's "H" mission type. Apollo 13 was launched from Kennedy space center, which is located in Florida (U.S.A). The spacecraft was launched on 11th April 1970 at 19:13 UTC. The Apollo 13 mission was crewed by the three astronauts, The commander of mission - James A. Lovell, The pilot of the command module (Odyssey) - John L. Swigert and the pilot of the Lunar module (Aquaries) - Fred W. Haise. The detailed story and mysteries of Apollo 13 mission were also filmed in the Ron Howard movie "Apollo 13" (released in the year 1995).

After two days of the launch, with spacecraft in its arriving state to the moon (330,000 km away from earth's surface), an unexpected accident happened which was the main reason for aborting the mission. According to the Nasa report, No.2 oxygen tank was exploded inside the service module resulted in electric power supply cut, excessive loss of oxygen and also the malfunction of the attitude control thrusters. The No.1 oxygen tank was also losing oxygen rapidly and suddenly after 2 hours, it reaches to zero on the meter. Just a few minutes after this incident, the No.1 and the No.3 fuel cells also failed. Mission commander James A. Lovell noticed that the oxygen gas was leaking in the outer space, resulting in loss of oxygen. The crew members thought that a meteoroid might have collided with the lunar module. Due to this oxygen depleting accident, the electric power was finally turned off. But now they had to face a big problem because electric power generation was carried out by mixing oxygen and hydrogen into water, but as they are out of oxygen, so now they were fully depended on the command module battery power.

At that time the astronauts were planning to save the battery for re-entry to earth, so they completely shut down the command module power. Later, they used the saved power to power up the lunar module to use it as a lifeboat. Also, the consumables present on lunar module was limited to only two crew members. But the lunar module had played a great role in the Apollo 13 mission. It was believed that the lunar module of Apollo 13 had proved to be a life savior for all the three crew members. Due to heavy damage in the service module, the Apollo 13 spaceflight director Gene Kranz contacted the Apollo 13 crew members immediately and told them to abort the mission as soon as possible.

The last problem of this mission was to separate the lunar module away from command module at a safe distance between them. For performing this separation process, the astronauts usually use the service module's Reaction Control System (RCS). But due to power failure inside the service module, the RCS process was not of any use or ineffective. To solve this problem, Grumman contacted a team of six engineers from Toronto University. This problem was to be solved within a day and surprisingly with the help the leading scientist, Bernard Etkin, an accurate pressure calculation was carried out on the basis of "Slide Rules". Shortly it was relayed to Nasa research center. From there they relayed the calculation to the crew members and at that moment it worked perfectly rescuing all crew members safely.

When Apollo 13 reached nearer to earth, the crew members first jettisoned service module using lunar module's RCS. The crew members then jettisoned the lunar module (Aquarius) from the command module (Odyssey). The command module re-entered the earth's atmosphere safely and finally, the command module (Odyssey) safely splashed down in the south pacific ocean and was recovered by US Navy ship, "Iwo Jima".


Popular Posts