Apollo 13: Houston, We've Got A Problem, Part 2

During the mission of Apollo 13, the crew encountered a life-threatening problem.  This video (part 2 of 2) presents highlights from NASA's film - "Houston, We've Got a Problem." 

It includes trouble-shooting efforts, by the flight and ground crews, to design and implement contingency measures to safely return the spacecraft, and its three-man crew, to Earth.

The clip also features real-time NASA communications, plus historical footage of return-to-Earth and splash-down scenes. 

The Apollo 13 crew and their spacecraft were recovered, on the 17th of April 1970, by the USS Iwo Jima. A serious question remained, however. What had nearly caused them to lose their lives? Investigators eventually figured-out the cause of the explosion:

After an intensive investigation, the Apollo 13 Accident Review Board identified the cause of the explosion. In 1965, the CM [command module] had undergone many improvements that included raising the permissible voltage to the heaters in the oxygen tanks from 28 to 65 volts DC. Unfortunately, the thermostatic switches on these heaters weren't modified to suit the change.

During one final test on the launch pad, the heaters were on for a long period of time. This subjected the wiring in the vicinity of the heaters to very high temperatures (1000 F), which have been subsequently shown to severely degrade teflon insulation. The thermostatic switches started to open while powered by 65 volts DC and were probably welded shut.

Furthermore, other warning signs during testing went unheeded and the tank, damaged from eight hours of overheating, was a potential bomb the next time it was filled with oxygen. That bomb exploded on April 13, 1970 - 200,000 miles from Earth.

See, also:

Apollo 13 - Launch Sequence

Apollo 13: Houston, We've Got A Problem, Part 1

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5199stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Jul 24, 2024

Media Credits

Highlights from NASA Film HQ-200 - "Houston, We've Got a Problem" - online courtesy Discovery on YouTube.

Don Wiseman

Production Company
A-V Corporatoin, Houston, TX for NASA



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"Apollo 13: Houston, We've Got A Problem, Part 2" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Jul 24, 2024.
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