“During blackout every team member does his own soul searching, reviewing the decisions and the data, knowing they had to be nearly perfect and knowing how tough perfection is.” Gene Kranz
To Kranz and his team, this crew was special. They just could not lose them. Failure was not an option.
Three hours before dawn, Gene Kranz’ White Team took its place next to Windler’s Maroon Team controllers. The eighty hours of uncertainty were now past and mission control was down to Apollo 13’s final shift.
While the Mercury 7 were fulfilling their roles as symbols of space exploration, Korolev was once again offering the real thing. He now prepared to undertake the most demanding mission yet. The mission that would accomplish the next step in Korolev’s program of lunar exploration. He would attempt to photograph the far side of the moon.
As If there were not enough problems, Houston still had not completed the command module power up checklist.
From beneath the Lunar Modules floor there was a thud, then a hiss, then another thump that vibrated through the cabin.
Swigert counted down five, four, three, two, one.”
Lovell pressed the big red engine button set in the bulkhead and once again felt the vibration below his feet.
“Ignition,” Lovell said to his crew-mates.
In the White House, President Nixon was very concerned for the Apollo 13 crew. Since Apollo 8’s successful lunar orbit, just one month before his inauguration, Nixon had developed a fascination with moon flight and a special admiration for the crew of that first circumlunar trip.