With exclusive interviews and rarely seen NASA footage, Fox News and Fox Business anchor Neil Cavuto re-examined the six dramatic days that gripped the world, as American courage and ingenuity transformed near-certain tragedy into one of the space program’s greatest triumphs, in Fox Nation’s “Return to Earth, The Triumph of Apollo 13.”
On April 11, 1970, NASA astronauts Fred Haise, Jim Lovell and Jack Swigert were set to follow in the footsteps of giants such as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.
Their mission was to pull off NASA’s third lunar landing.
“Apollo 13 was rocketing to the moon just nine months after Apollo 11 and five months after Apollo 12,” Cavuto says in the Fox Nation show. “Three missions in less than a year. They were starting to seem commonplace.”
The panoramic hi-def image of interior of the Apollo 13 Lunar Module. Astronaut Fred Haise (right) is napping, while Jack Swigert can be seen curled up in the storage area. Commander Jim Lovell’s hand can be seen in the left of the picture.
However, the Apollo 13 mission turned out to be anything but routine, as the astronauts and mission control in Houston, Texas, realized that their mission to return to the moon had become a race for survival.
As Apollo 13 approached the moon — about 200,000 away miles from Earth — an oxygen tank on the spacecraft suddenly exploded.
The Apollo 13 crew immediately altered ground control in a now-iconic communication.
“OK, Houston, we’ve had a problem here.”
“This is Houston, say again, please,” came the reply from Earth.
“Houston, we’ve had a problem,” they repeated.
“It was touch and go,” Apollo 13 commander Jim Lovell told Cavuto, “But there was nothing we could do but be calm and try to figure out what we had.”
“You all sounded so calm,” Cavuto said, referring to the half-century-old recordings of Lowell’s interactions with NASA, “You, in particular, captain, sounded so at ease.”
“Well, a lot of people said, ‘You didn’t understand the situation,'” he joked.
It soon became clear to the crew and NASA team on Earth that not only was the moon mission scrapped, but they needed to act quickly if they wanted to get home.
The huge Saturn rocket carrying the Apollo 13 spacecraft is on its moon mission, lifts off the launch pad at Cape Kennedy, Fla., April 11, 1970
“Did you actually ever think, ‘I might die?'” Cavuto asked.
“Well, we thought our chances were about 10 percent,” Lovell said.
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