NASA marking the 50th anniversary of “successful failure” Apollo 13 mission

Fred W. Haise;John L. Swigert;James A. Jr. Lovell The Apollo 13 astronauts | Photo by Time Life Pictures/NASA/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

Today is the 50th anniversary of the launch of the Apollo 13 mission that never made it to the moon, the one where Commander Jim Lovell uttered the phrase “Houston, we’ve had a problem.” NASA calls the mission a “successful failure,” because even though an explosion crippled the primary spacecraft two days in, Lovell and fellow crewmembers Fred Haise and Jack Swigert returned safely to Earth thanks to the determined work of the ground crew at Mission Control.

NASA isn’t planning in-person activities to commemorate the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but has released a documentary with archival footage from the mission. Apollo 13: Home Safe includes interviews with Lovell (it opens with him saying “it was plagued by bad omens and…

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