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tv   Reel America Houston Weve Got a Problem  CSPAN  April 14, 2020 2:00pm-2:32pm EDT

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blasted off what was to be the third nasa mission to land humans on the moon. this 1970 nasa documentary tells the story of the onboard explosion and the mission failure nearly leaving three astronauts stranded in space. >> on our transit out to the moon it's rather odd to see footage like this. >> april 13, 1970, the mood could only be described as relaxed. apollo 13, man's fifth lunar mission, the third scheduled to land on the moon.
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>> 13, we've got one more item for you when you've got a chance we'd like you to start-up your cryo tanks. >> okay. standby. >> we have a problem here. >> this is houston. say again please. >> houston we've had a problem. we've had a main bust on a volt. >> standby 13, we're looking at
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it. >> april 11, 1970, launch day. the crew of apollo 13, commander and veteran of three previous missions, he had orbited the moon christmas 1968 on apollo 8. fred hayes, his first time up, lunar module pilot. jack swaggert, command module pilot. mattingly had been dropped from the mission because he'd been exposed to german measles. he would watch the mission from houston's mission control. >> roger. >> we're on internal power. >> how's it look?
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>> ignition. >> roger. >> how's it look? >> looks good here. >> booster, how do you look? >> look good. >> we're go flight. looks good here. >> looks good, mike.
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>> you don't see a problem do you? >> not yet. all engines are a go. >> the next step of lunar flight was to burn out of earth orbit toward the moon and pull free of the third stage and dock with the lunar module. at the command of module. they pull away from the saturn third stage, the s4b. >> i can see the s4b hatch now at the window. >> odyssey and aquarius moved away from earth toward the moon.
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>> okay, houston, we have a problem here. >> go, guys. >> we've had a hardware restart. i don't know what it was. >> houston, we've had a problem. >> negative flight i believe the crew reported it. >> we may have had an instrumentation problem, flight. >> roger. >> and we had a pretty large bank associated with the warning there. >> the sensation i had i felt a vibration accompanying the bang, not a large vibration or shudder. >> 13 psi on fuel cell 2
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pressure. >> shutdown the reactants now and they always can be restarted from ground support equipment. >> it looks to me -- >> you look anything that looks like normal in your system? >> negative flight. >> how about you, e com? you see anything from the instrumentation you've got? >> let me look at the system. >> okay, let's start the scanner. >> here's a bulletin from abc news the apollo 13 spacecraft has had a serious supply malfunction that could cause the lunar mission to be terminated earlier. >> i assume you called your back up ecoms. >> we've got one here.
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>> roger. >> at the moment the astronauts are continuing to isolate their trouble. late reports the spacecraft is now operating on battery power alone and all unnecessary equipment is being turned off. >> okay, now, let's everybody keep cool. we've got lens still attached, lens spacecraft good, so if we need to get back home, we've got a lepz to do a good portion of it with. let's make we don't do anything will blow our batteries or cause us to lose the main fuel cell number 2. we've got the command module system. let's solve the problem but let's not make it any worse by guessing. >> i wonder what this is going to do to the landing to i wonder
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if we can get back home again. >> okay, comm, i'm coming back to you. >> i think the best thing we can do right now is power down. >> it was apparent to me we question the time the command module was going to be dead. >> we can do that on fuel cell number one. >> let's make sure we don't blow the whole mission. >> the thing that concerns me is equipment, we had a problem, we don't know the cause of the problem. >> flight, i've got a feeling wave lost two fuel cells. i hate to put it that way, but i don't know why we lost them. >> bring me up another computer, will you? >> i want another machine up there and a bunch of guys running d-logs down there. >> roger that. >> what all this means is only
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speculation at this point. first, though there has been some tumbling or rolling of the spacecraft the astronauts do not appear to be in any immediate daerj. >> can you get somebody in the back room to figure out what the equivalent is to see if we can backtrack? >> when i looked up and saw the oxian pressure it dawned on me we were indeed in serious trouble. the only way to survive the situation was to transfer to the -- >> the pressure in tank one is down. we're using the lens systems. >> i'd say this is a serious situation if we have ever had
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any. if at any time in the mission, however it had separated and we had gotten ourselves into a rendezvous situation or the command module being around the moon then what you say is absolutely true, it would be a fatal situation. >> go ahead, flight. >> i want you to get some guys figuring out minimum power in the lens to sustain light. >> the accident had occurred 200,000 miles from earth. they rode in the lunar module attach today a lifeless command module. apollo 13 had started as a mission of scientific exploration. it was now a matter of survival. since the command module was dead except for the oxygen and power for reentry, a guidance platform of aquarius disciped to land on and take off from the moon would have to be used.
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>> the first milestone, and i consider this after the accident i guess more or less the survival now, the first milestone was to get alignment on the platform. alignments are important because without knowing exactly which way the aircraft is in space there's no way to tell how to burn or use the engines of that spacecraft to get the proper trajectory to come home. >> the position we are now we have to go around the moon to get back. you wouldn't have had enough capability with the engine so we have to go to the backside of the moon. >> to get into the correct orbit around the moon the crew had burned out the correct trajectory. they would have to get back to a
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safe course towards earth. >> this maneuver, again, was completed on time and because it was a manual burn we had a three man operation. jack would take care of the time and tell us when to let off the engine and when to stop it and i'd push the button to start off the engines. >> aquarius, you're good for the burn. okay, aquarius, you're looking good. >> the first problem was solved. they were back on the path to earth. but there were many other problems to be solved. from a building at houston's manned spacecraft center systems experts coordinated the coast to coast effort to get the crew back.
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one of the big problems was consumables. there would be enough to eat and drink, but in space there are other factors, oxygen to breathe, electrical power to keep the spacecraft alive, water to cool the equipment and keep it operating. >> what we'll be doing until we get them back on the water is concentrating on everything that their lives are dependent upon at the moment rather than worrying about the accident because there's nothing we can do about that now. it appears at the present time that everything is under control and that we have a safe situation at the moment. >> you guys are doing real good work. >> so are you guys. >> we are about 70 hours from home, and we think we have the situation in control. we've projected the consumables is as described, and we have a plan for carrying out the rest of the mission. but there's going to be no
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relaxation at all as far as that goes. >> there was a key decision to be made before apollo 13 went behind the moon. where to bring them down. this would take them to the indian ocean where recovery would be difficult. bringing them home even faster would place them in the south atlantic, again away from recovery forces. it was decided to take them to the pacific. >> we run the simulators here and at the contractors continuously ever since last night. we've tried to simulate basically everything we've had the crew to do, nonnormal that they've done.
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and we've proved mostly what we've been able to run on simulator. at least we'll check the feasibility of everything we've done and we'll continue to do that. >> they passed 137 miles from the moon. it was the second time they had soon a moon so near. but it was no time for contemnplation. there was another critical burn coming. and in houston the news men poured in to tell an anxious world the story. shortly after apollo 13 had separated from the saturday third stage, the stage had been sent on a trajectory toward the moon. its impact would be recorded by the seismometer left by apollo 12. >> by the way, aquarius we see the results now from 12's
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seismometer. looks like your booster just hit the moon and it's rocking it a little bit, over. >> jim, you are a go for the burn. go for the burn. >> guidance okay. >> we're good, fine. >> control, okay? >> ground confirms ignition. >> we're burning 40%. >> houston, you're looking good. >> roger. shutdown. >> roger shutdown. >> to conserve the electric power and cooling water the crew
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shutdown all but the vital life sustaining systems. >> i think the spacecraft is in excellent shape and i think it's fully capable of getting the crew back. i think as we've found before every time we've put the spacecraft to a test it's always done much more and i think this is good case in point. >> conserve the conservables, cooling water, electric power. >> the water was leaking and we shut that off, i guess it leaked a quart of water. but it took me about two days to get my feet dry. i think you all are aware the temperatures were going down in both vehicle and it made for very chilly feet for a couple of
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days. >> lord, your astronauts will come back safe. >> if i may be serious for one moment and ask the entire audience for a moment of prayer
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for the crewmen of the apollo 13. we will hold silence for a moment, please. >> rcsa stands at 6.2% and b at 6.2%. >> command module just fully kept going down in temperature until i think prior to reentry it was down to about 38 degrees. and along with that there was a sort of chilling coldness. the windows were completely wet, and it wasn't too healthy. i recall we wept in there to get
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some hot dogs one day and it was like reaching into a freezer for the food. >> if you want my opinion to handle the situation when it happened is handle it exactly how we expected to. everybody was on top of it with what we knew, which wasn't much i have to admit. but i think we did it right with the knowledge available to us and in a timely fashion. >> we actually had a third little restraint which we put on and kept a little bit warm. >> the astronauts faced another problem, their own exhaled breath. the lithium oxide to take carbon dioxide out of the air was not
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sufficient in the module. they would have to fit the hoses in the lens. on the ground an adapter was fashioned from materials the crew had available. cardboard from a checklist, plastic bags and tape. after check out in an environmental chamber the directions for construction were sent up to aquarius. >> at this point in time i think the partial pressure of carbon dioxide was really about 15 millimeters and we constructed two of these things and i think within an hour the partial pressure of co2 was down to two tenths. >> the ground continually helped us along. we had all kinds of people on the ground thinking of ways to extend our lifetime.
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>> there would be still a narrow burn, to get apollo 13 through the atmosphere for a safe return to work. >> ignition. thrust looks good. >> hang in there, won't be long. >> there were moments i didn't know how much consumables we had, whether we could make it back. but in a situation like that there's only one thing you can do, you just keep going so that's exactly what we did. >> on april 17th they prepared for reentry. after a small course correction burn they jettisoned the damaged service module. >> copy that.
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>> the whole panel is blown out almost on the entrance. >> really a mess. man, that's unbelievable. >> next they got back into odyssey to jettison aquarius prior to reentry into the atmosphere. >> okay, copy that. >> and welcome home.
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>> thank you. >> odyssey, houston standing by, over. >> apollo 13 this is reentry, over. >> i've got them. >> wonderful. >> apollo 13 this is recovery. we observed your rcs burn, over.
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>> the vertical axis are approximately 50 degrees.
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[ applause ] >> i recall, captain, that when i spoke to you on the phone you said that you regretted you were unable to complete your mission. i hereby declare that this was a successful mission. from the start the exploration of space has been hazardous adventure. the men of apollo 13 by their poise and skill under the most intense kind of pressure
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epitomized the character that accepts danger and surmounts it. theirs is the spirit that fills americans. your mission served your country. it served to remind us all of our proud heritage of a nation, to remind us that in this age of technicians and scientific marvels that the individual still counts, that in a crisis the character of a man or of men will make the difference. >> procedures, go.
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okay, all flight controllers. let's play it cool. you're watching a special edition of american history tv airing now during the week while members of congress are working in their districts due to the coronavirus pandemic. former bush administration officials meghan o'sullivan and peter fever recount their roles in george w. bush's 2007 decision to increase american troop levels in iraq and their
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subsequent efforts to document these events in an oral history titled "the last card." this is the first of three programs on the surge that will air tonight at 8:00 eastern. the center for presidential history at southern methodist university in dallas hosted the event. american history tv now. and also watch over the weekend on c-span 3. >> every saturday night american history tv takes you to college classrooms around the country for lectures in history. >> why do you all know who lizzy borden is and raise your hand if you had ever heard of the gene harris murder trial before the class? >> this transformation that took place in the minds of the american people. >> we're going to talk about both of the sides of this story here, the tools, the techniques of slave owner power and we'll also talk about the tools and
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techniques of power practiced by enslaved people. >> watch history professors lead discussions with their students on topics ranging from the american revolution to september 11th. lectures in history on c-span 3 every saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv. and lectures in history is available as a podcast. find it where you listen to podcasts. up next here on american history tv three astronauts from the apollo 13 mission in april of 1970, an onboard explosion caused critical system failures that force said the astronauts to abort the mission. the astronauts held a news conference four days after they safely returned to earth. >> i'd like at this time to introduce the apollo 13 crew.
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>> thank you. i'd like to start off the briefing by saying that i'm not a superstitious person, and therefore when we were assigned apollo 13 i thought nothing of it. as a matter of fact, some of my friends of italian descent 13 was a lucky number. it all started before the flight as documented as we are approaching the final phase of our training the last couple of days are usually ones which are taken very usually. try to keep a couple of days free to unwind from the long training cycle and get plenty of rest so that when we launch we're in good shape and we can go with an easy mind. as you know a turn


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