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April 6, 2015 - Lucky 13

Lucky 13  When Apollo 13, seen here before launch, lifted off forty-five years ago this week, few thought it would become the most dangerous space mission in history. But four-fifths of the way to the Moon, a cryogenic oxygen tank in the service module ruptured, damaging two power-generating fuel cells and depleting vital oxygen. To conserve what little power and oxygen was left, all but the most essential systems were shut down, and astronauts Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise relied on their lunar module Aquarius as a lifeboat. Though it was designed to support two astronauts for two days on the lunar surface, Aquarius kept the three astronauts alive in space for almost four days. In reality, luck played only a small part in a mission that was saved by resourcefulness, courage, and determination.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

April 6-12, 2015

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Monday 6

Easter Monday (Canada)

Uranus in conjunction with Sun

1965: Early Bird (Intelsat 1) launched
1984: STS-41C Challenger launched

Tuesday 7

1991: Compton Gamma Ray Observatory deployed
2001: Mars Odyssey Orbiter launched
2007: ISS Expedition 15 crew launched

Moon phase Wednesday 8

Saturn 2° south of Moon
Jupiter appears stationary

1964: Gemini I launched
1966: OAO-1 launched
1993: STS-56 Discovery launched
2002: STS-110 Atlantis launched
2008: ISS Expedition 17 crew launched

Thursday 9

1959: NASA selects original seven Mercury astronauts
1994: STS-59 Endeavour launched

Friday 10

Mercury in superior conjunction
(on opposite side of Sun)

1919: John C. Houbolt born

Saturday 11

Last Qtr Moon 11:44 PM ET

1960: Project Ozma started
1970: Apollo 13 launched
1980: Viking 2 lander mission ends
1984: Challenger retrieves Solar Max
1986: Halley’s Comet closest to Earth

Sunday 12

Yuri's Night World Space Party

1961: Yuri Gagarin first human in space
1981: STS-1 Columbia launched
1985: STS-51D Discovery launched

Suggestions for new history dates or better links? Corrections for errors on this page? Please e-mail me.