“Three brave astronauts are alive and on Earth because of the mission operations teams’ dedication, and because at the critical moments the people of that team were wise enough and self-possessed enough to make the right decisions. Their extraordinary feat is a tribute to man’s ingenuity, to his resourcefulness and to his courage.” President Richard Nixon
“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.
As If there were not enough problems, Houston still had not completed the command module power up checklist.
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.
There was now cause for optimism in Mission Control. At the TELMU station, where the Lunar Module’s environmental signs were being continually monitored, the readings of the carbon dioxide concentrations aboard Aquarius were steadily dropping all day long.
In a healthy spacecraft, the CO2 meter should climb no higher than 2 or 3 millimeters of mercury. When it rose above 7, the crew was instructed to change their lithium hydroxide canisters. If it was allowed to rise above 15, the first signs of CO2 poisoning would set in.
In the satellite room of the carrier Iwo Jima, the communications man sat back and removed his headset. He knew, that Apollo 13 was in fact coming their way.