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Day 6, part 7: Farewell, Aquarius Journal Home Page Postflight Activities

Apollo 13


Day 6, part 8: The Blackout, Splashdown and Recovery

Corrected Transcript and Commentary Copyright ©2020 by W. David Woods, Johannes Kemppanen, Alexander Turhanov and Lennox J. Waugh. All rights reserved.
Last updated 2020-04-27
The splashdown of Apollo 13 is only a little over an hour away, and the spacecraft is now down to the final component that remains, the Command Module. The damaged Service Module is gone, as is the Lunar Module Aquarius that successfully supported them all the way back from the Moon. The tired crew of Apollo 13, Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise; and the equally exhausted men in Mission Control have done everything they can to ensure that the spacecraft can make a safe return. The math says the batteries will last all the way to landing. Their trajectory is solid. Recovery forces are standing by in a global readiness to pick up the crew and render assistance to them. Families are wishing and hoping.
Apollo Control, Houston; 141 hours, 35 minutes now into the flight. We have reports from recovery that Samoa rescue Aircraft, 1, 3 and 4 are now en route to their respective stations. These C-130 aircraft; Samoa 1 will be positioned 105 nautical miles uprange. Samoa 4, 200 nautical miles downrange. Correction to that last report Samoa 1 will be 345 nautical miles uprange. Samoa 2, 240 nautical miles uprange. Samoa 4, 200 nautical miles downrange. Continue to monitor at 141 hours, 36 minutes; this is Apollo Control, Houston.
Should the Command Module end up splashing down unexpectedly far away from the primary recovery ship, the long range rescue aircraft can drop down survival equipment to them, including a large sea anchor that will slow down the drift of the Command Module and make it easier to reach by other recovery forces heading to its location.
Diagram of the long range plane rescue plan. The Command Module can signal its position via a radio beacon, a dye marker, and a flashing strobe light. The search plane can drop a bundle of equipment attached to a long floating rope the Command Module crew can snatch using a hook stowed onboard.
141:36:03 Kerwin: Odyssey, Houston.
141:36:05 Swigert: Go ahead.
141:36:06 Kerwin: Okay, Jack. We'll have a PAD for you in a few minutes. We're getting data now on the tracking, and although we suspect the changes from your preliminary PAD will be very small, we recommend that you hold off on initializing the EMS until we get you the final PAD. Over.
141:36:23 Swigert: Okay. Will do.
141:36:25 Kerwin: Roger. [Long pause.]
141:37:20 Swigert: Okay, Houston. The sextant star check passes.
The star check is one for the Entry PAD, with them sighting Antares through the optics.
141:37:23 Kerwin: Houston, copy. Good show. That was some P52, Jack.
141:37:35 Swigert: Yes. I was kind of lucky, I guess.
141:37:41 Kerwin: Give you a big gold star for that.
141:37:44 Swigert: Thank you. [Long pause.]
141:38:15 Swigert: Hey, Joe. We're standing by to copy your new PAD.
141:38:18 Kerwin: Okay, Jack. It'll be a few minutes yet. We want to get it right up to speed. [Long pause.]
141:38:43 Swigert: Okay. I can proceed with EMS check, can't I, Joe?
141:38:46 Kerwin: That's affirmative, Jack. You can go ahead with that.
Very long comm break.
This is Apollo Control, Houston; 141 hours, 40 minutes now into the flight of Apollo 13. Apollo 13 now at an altitude of 9,703 nautical miles from Earth with a velocity now reading 18,504 feet per second. We have a report that the Lunar Module is continuing to hold attitude the way it should. Cabin pressure is holding and here in Mission Control, we'll continue to track the Lunar Module Aquarius until it reenters. We're at 141 hours, 41 minutes into the flight; and this is Apollo Control, Houston.
17,970 kilometres to go, velocity, 5,640 m/s.
This is Apollo Control, Houston at 141 hours, 44 minutes now into the mission. Apollo 13 presently at a distance of 9,102 nautical miles from Earth and with a velocity reading 18,952 feet per second. Meanwhile we have a listing of the crew members of the helicopters who will be airborne at the time of predicted landing. We read an estimated time of landing now of 1 hour, 10 minutes.
The distance to go is 16,856 km, and their speed is 5,776 m/s. With their ever-faster fall towards the Earth, they have travelled a thousand kilometres in four minutes, and gained 136 m/s in velocity.
Aboard Recovery 1 Pilot will be Commander Charles B. Smiley, 39, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Commander Smiley is the H-S4 Commanding Officer and picked up the Apollo 10 astronauts. Co Pilot Lt. Junior Grade Dana G. McCarthy, 25, of Chathum, Mass. First crewman, Ralph G. Slider, 28, of Paden City, West Va., Second crewman, Michael Longe, 21, of Shelburn, Vermont. The swimmer aboard, Lt. Junior Grade Ernest Lee Jahncke, 26, of Greenwich, Connecticut. Aboard Swim 1; Pilot Lt. Commander Carl John Frank, 35, North Merrick, New York, Co Pilot Lt. Jr. Grade Douglas Fillmore Hudson, Jr., 24, of Barrington, Illinois. First crewman, Robert Peterson, 23, of Susanville, California, Second crewman, Gary W. Neilson, 21 of Delhi, Louisiana. Swimmer, Stephen P. Jewett, 25 of Ontario, California, and Second swimmer, Robert J. Pfanzelter, 19, of Burlington, Wisconsin, Third swimmer, Luco Palma, 19, of Tewksbury, Mass.
141:46:48 Kerwin: Odyssey, Houston. Over.
141:46:51 Lovell: Go ahead, Houston.
141:46:53 Kerwin: Okay, Jim. Your cabin is looking real good. We recommend you turn the Suit Compressor to Off now. Over
141:47:00 Lovell: Going Off. Boy, it's nice and quiet in here. [Pause.]
To save power, they will make the rest of the way down without recycling the onboard atmosphere.
141:47:09 Kerwin: Okay, real good. Incidentally, your power is looking real good also, Jim.
141:47:16 Lovell: Thank you. [Long pause.]
Aboard Swim Helicopter No. 2; Pilot Lt. Allen Leroy Willhite, 27, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Co Pilot Lt. Jr. Grade Vernon E. Wright, 27, Atlanta, Georgia, First crewman, Raymond Lloyd Morrison of Lynchburg, Va., Second crewman John William Towne, McCook, Nebraska, First swimmer Allan W. Star...
141:48:12 Kerwin: Odyssey, Houston. I have your final entry PAD when you are ready. [Pause.]
Allan W. Start of Jackpot, Nevada.
141:48:22 Lovell: Okay, Houston. Ready to copy.
141:48:23 Kerwin: Okay. Mid-PAC, 000,152, 000; 142:38:19, 178; and you recall that's GET moonset and Moon-check attitude. Noun 61, minus 21.66, minus 165.37; 05.2; 36211, 6.20; 11197, 36291; 142:40:46; 00:30; the next four are N/A; D zero is 4.00, 02:20; 00:19, 03:38, 07:59. The rest of the pad is N/A for this one. You are lift vector up at the very bottom. And the remarks all remain the same; if you want me to copy them, let me know; otherwise, you can read back. Over.
141:50:02 Lovell: Okay. Entry pad as follows: Mid-PAC, 000, 152, 000; 142:38:19, 178; minus 21.66, minus 165.37; 05.2; 36211, 6.20; 11197, 36291; 142:40:46; 00:30; all the DLS are N/A. D0 is 4.00, 02:20; 00:19, 03:38, 07:59. All the rest are N/A, except lift vector which is up; and I have the [garble].
141:50:51 Kerwin: Okay, Jim. That's a tiny hair shallower than we had you before, but it's based on solid tracking, and it still is lift vector up comfortably. [Pause.]
141:51:06 Lovell: Roger. We never did bring that angle up, did we?
The refined entry PAD. The shallowing of their trajectory is shown by the smaller angle, gamma, between their flight path and the horizontal at Entry Interface. Also, their expected peak deceleration is down from 6.7g to 5.2g.
The data passed up for their very last entry PAD is interpreted as follows:
Purpose: Entry.
Landing target: Mid-Pacific, Primary Recovery Area
IMU gimbal angles required for trim at 0.05g: Roll, 000°; pitch, 152°; yaw, 000°.
Time of the horizon check: 142 hours, 38 minutes, 19 seconds GET.
Spacecraft pitch at horizon check: 178°. This will be a Moonset and moon-check
Predicted splashdown point (Noun 61): minus 21.66° latitude, minus 165.37° longitude.
Maximum number of g's during entry: 5.2.
Velocity at Entry Interface (400,000 feet altitude): 36,211 feet/second (meters/second).
Entry flight path angle at Entry Interface: 6.20°.
Range to go to splashdown point from 0.05g event: 1,119.7 nautical miles. To set up their EMS (Entry Monitor System) before re-entry, the crew need to know the expected distance the CM would travel from the 0.05 g event to landing. This figure will be decremented by the EMS based on signals from its own accelerometer.
Predicted inertial velocity at 0.05g event: 36,291 feet/second. This is another entry for the EMS. It is entered into the unit's Delta-V counter and will be decremented based on signals from its own accelerometer.
Time of Entry Interface: 142 hours, 40 minutes, 46 seconds GET.
Time from Entry Interface to 0.05g event: 0:30 (seconds).
Planned drag level (deceleration) during the constant g phase: 4.00g.
Time from Entry Interface until their velocity slows sufficiently to allow a circular orbit around the Earth: 02:20.
The practical implication of this is that this is the "capture point" where the CM will no longer be able to skip off the atmosphere. Since the spacecraft will already be within the Earth's sensible atmosphere at this point, drag will continue to slow the spacecraft and the return to Earth is assured.
Time from Entry Interface that the communications blackout begins: 0:19. (seconds)
Time from Entry Interface that the communications blackout ends: 03:38. (minutes and seconds)
Time from Entry Interface that the drogue parachutes will deploy: 07:59. (minutes and seconds)
Lift vector at Entry Interface: Up. Since the direction of the lift vector is towards the crew's feet, they will re-enter in a heads-down attitude.
GDC Align stars: The stars to be used for GDC Align purposes are 31 Arcturus and 33 Antares. The align angles are roll, 41°; pitch, 45°; yaw, 24°.
Comments in addition to the PAD:EMS non-exit pattern will be used. Maintain mooncheck attitude until moonset. Constant g entry is performed by maintaining roll to right. Instructions have been given on power-down should battery power become critical during reentry procedures.
141:51:12 Kerwin: No, actually, we didn't.
Very long comm break.
This is Apollo Control, Houston; now 141 hours, 53 minutes now into the flight. Our final PAD shows a time of Entry Interface at 142 hours, 40 minutes, 46 seconds; begin blackout at plus 19 seconds from time of Entry Interface, end the blackout, 3 minutes and 38 seconds. Time of drogue deploy from Entry Interface is plus 7 minutes and 59 seconds; main chute deployment plus 8 minutes, 46 seconds from time of Entry Interface. And predicted time of splash; 13 minutes, 44 seconds from time of Entry Interface. We're now at 141 hours, 54 minutes into the mission, continuing to monitor; this is Apollo Control, Houston.
Apollo Control, Houston at 141 hours, 55 minutes into the flight of Apollo 13. At the present, we're now feeding a downrange picture of the recovery on the closed circuit television circuit. Further report from recovery: all recovery aircraft, the C-130s, are airborne and helicopters 1 and 2 with swimmers are airborne and proceeding to station at this time. This is Apollo Control, Houston; at 141 hours, 56 minutes into the flight of Apollo 13.
Apollo Control, Houston; 141 hours, 56 minutes into the flight. Apollo 13 now 7,084 nautical miles away from Earth, velocity increasing. They are presently reading 20,770 feet per second. For the report from recovery, both ARIA aircraft are airborne and on station. This is Apollo Control, Houston at 141 hours 57 minutes into the flight.
Distance is now but 13,120 km, and their velocity is up to 6,331 m/s.
As Odyssey approaches very close to Earth and then enters the atmosphere, they move below the line of sight of the radio and tracking stations, hence the ARIA aircraft are needed to allow for maximum coverage at this very last phase of the mission.
Apollo Control, Houston; 141 hours, 59 minutes - correction - 142 hours now into the flight. We show Apollo 13 at an altitude of 6,613 nautical miles away. Velocity really beginning to build up now, now reading 21,227 feet per second. We show 40 minutes from time of reentry into the Earth's atmosphere.
Distance, 12,237 km velocity is 6,450 m/s.
142:00:42 Kerwin: Odyssey, Houston. Over.
142:00:44 Swigert: Go ahead.
142:00:45 Kerwin: Okay, Jack. We'd like P00 and Accept for your final state vector. [Pause.]
142:00:55 Lovell: You've got it. [Pause.]
142:01:04 Kerwin: And, Odyssey, Houston. We're also sending you a final PIPA bias update and clock increment. Over.
To ensure that their guidance for the reentry is as accurate as possible, they update the state vector, the accelerometer data and the onboard clock.
142:01:12 Lovell: Okay. Fine; thank you, Joe. How does the LM look? Are you still tracking it?
142:01:17 Kerwin: All I've heard was that it's - that the cabin was holding pressure. I haven't heard anything more. And, Odyssey, we're ready for you to warm up the BMAG number 2's at your discretion and we're curious whether the Moon check attitude is good. Over.
142:01:43 Swigert: Yes, Joe, it's coming down. I got just about 45 degrees now and it's coming on down.
142:01:50 Kerwin: Roger that.
Long comm break.
This is Apollo Control, Houston; 142 hours, 3 minutes now into the flight. We presently show on one of our displays a splash coordinates of 21 degrees, 39 minutes South; 165 degrees, 23 minutes West. Apollo 13 now at an altitude of 5,862 nautical miles. Velocity now reading 22,085 feet per second.
Altitude, 10,856 km; velocity, 6,732 m/s.
142:06:12 Kerwin: Odyssey, Houston. The computer is yours. Over.
142:06:15 Swigert: Okay. Thanks, Joe. [Long pause.]
Apollo Control, Houston; 142 hours, 7 minutes now into the flight of Apollo 13. Odyssey now 34 minutes away from time of entry into the Earth's atmosphere. Mission Control has just passed a computer update to the onboard CMC and as you heard Joe Kerwin's last report to the crew, telling them that the computer now belongs to them. We're at 142 hours, 7 minutes; continuing to monitor, this is Apollo Control.
142:07:06 Swigert: Okay, Joe. The Moon is coming down to about 38 degrees.
142:07:10 Kerwin: Okay, Jack. Sounds real good.
Comm break.
Observation of the Moon on their hatch window has been successful.
Apollo Control at 142 hours, 8 minutes now into the flight of Apollo 13. Presently 5,134 nautical miles away from Earth. Velocity now reading 23,023 feet per second. We're 33 minutes away from time of entry. This is Apollo Control, Houston.
With the minutes ticking down, they are now but 9,508 km away and moving at 7,017 m/s.
142:09:00 Kerwin: Odyssey, Houston.
142:09:02 Lovell: Go ahead.
142:09:03 Kerwin: Okay. We'd like the S-Band Power Amplifier to Off, center, at this time, Jim.
142:09:11 Lovell: Off, center, is done
142:09:14 Kerwin: Okay. You're still looking real fat on power. We show you having over 30 amps on the water. If you do get into a bind and don't come up - that's amp-hours - don't come up with Recovery, you can always power down and you can always put the pyro batteries on the line if you need them after you're down.
142:09:35 Lovell: Okay.
Very long comm break.
The power they estimate to remain in the batteries is incidentally very close to the amount that was transferred from the LM to the Command Module, meaning that without the battery charge, they would have most likely ended up running out.
This is Apollo Control, Houston; 142 hours, 14 minutes now into the mission. Apollo 13 presently 4,075 nautical miles out from Earth. Velocity now showing 24,619 feet per second. We're less than 27 minutes now from time of entry into the Earth's atmosphere.
With less than half an hour to go, they are now at 7,547 km away and speeding in at 7,504 m/s.
142:17:54 Swigert: Joe, are you planning to run this all the way down without the suit compressor?
142:18:00 Kerwin: Say again, Jack.
142:18:02 Swigert: Are you planning to turn on the suit compressor at all on the way down?
142:18:07 Kerwin: That's negative Jack; I'll verify it; but I sure don't think so.
142:18:11 Swigert: Okay, that's all right with us. [Pause.]
142:18:22 Kerwin: Okay, Jack, this is Houston, we have power, and you can cycle it for 10 minutes if you so desire, but we don't think you need to do it. Over.
142:18:31 Swigert: Okay, we'll hold that.
They decide not to use the suit compressors to recirculate the air, hence saving some power. They can now make it down quite comfortably without.
142:18:33 Kerwin: Okay, real fine. How did the EMS check go, Jack?
142:18:36 Swigert: EMS checked out okay...
142:18:39 Kerwin: Good deal.
142:18:40 Swigert: Its been initialized and setting on Entry.
142:18:42 Kerwin: Roger.
Comm break.
Apollo Control, Houston; 142 hours, 17 minutes now into the mission. Our digital display at present shows Apollo 13 at 3,505 nautical miles away from Earth, now traveling at a speed of 25,693 feet per second. Jack Swigert confirms that the EMS check went well, which provides a good backup monitor for checking the guidance and navigation system performance. We are at 142 hours, 18 minutes into the flight; and this is Apollo Control, Houston.
Distance, 6,491 km; velocity, 7,831 m/s.
142:20:21 Swigert: Okay, Joe, are you watching - you and FIDO taking a look at our Noun 60 here?
Jack's comment confirms that they've started the computer-guided reentry sequence by choosing Program 61. One of its displays is Noun 60, which indicates the predicted maximum g forces experienced, the predicted velocity, and the entry angle. They will go through Programs 62 and 63 before the actual reentry, still.
142:20:26 Kerwin: That's affirmative; hold it just a second; we are looking at 6.13 and 4.80; I'll get a check on that.
142:20:37 Swigert: Hey that's not too many g's.
142:20:41 Kerwin: Jack, FIDO says that okay.
142:20:45 Swigert: Okay. [Long pause.]
Apollo Control - that was a reading from the onboard computer displays showing a velocity at entry of 36,211 feet per second [11,037 m/s].
142:21:21 Kerwin: Jack, Houston, your Noun 63 looks good to us also.
Noun 63 displays the range to go from Entry Interface, the predicted velocity at the time, and the time from Entry Interface.
142:21:25 Swigert: Okay. [Long pause.]
Apollo Control, Houston; at 142 hours, 22 minutes into the mission.
142:22:08 Swigert: Joe, how far out do you show us now?
142:22:12 Kerwin: Oh, on our plot board up here, we can't hardly see how far out you are.
142:22:19 Swigert: Okay. [Pause.]
142:22:28 Swigert: I know all of us here want to thank all you guys down there for the very fine job you did.
142:22:36 Lovell: That's affirm, Joe.
142:22:38 Kerwin: I'll tell you - We all had a good time doing it. [Long pause.]
We now now show Apollo 13 at a distance at 2,581 nautical mile [4,780 km].
142:22:56 Kerwin: Okay, Odyssey; Houston. Just for your information, it looks as though battery C will deplete around main chute time; that's expected; you've got plenty of amp-hours in the other batteries.
Comm break.
Battery C was the first one brought online, supporting the Command Module RCS heating and other Main Bus A loads while the rest of the systems were powered from the Lunar Module.
We now show velocity of 27,553 feet per second at 142 hours, 24 minutes.
Their velocity is 8,398 m/s.
142:24:34 Kerwin: Odyssey, Houston. Over. [Pause.]
142:24:45 Kerwin: Odyssey, Houston. Over. [Long pause.]
142:25:04 Kerwin: Odyssey, Houston. Over. [Pause.]
Apollo Control, Houston at 142 hours, 25 minutes now into the mission - aboard Apollo 13...
142:25:13 Kerwin: Odyssey, Houston. Over.
142:25:16 Swigert: Go ahead. [Pause.]
142:25:25 Kerwin: Okay, I was just going to tell you about that handover we just had, but I was a little late on the - on the ball. Since we're fat on power and we'd kind of like to have S-band with you after blackout - we'd - We'd like you to delete the step on your entry checklist page 2-5, after "Begin blackout," it says "Power PMP to Off." We'd like you to leave it on if you think of it. Over.
142:25:41 Lovell: Okay.
142:25:43 Kerwin: Okay.
Very long comm break.
We're now reading the onboard computer display, which shows a present velocity of 29,160 feet per second. This is what the crew is reading out. A range-to-go distance of 4,984 nautical miles [9,230 km]. We're at 142 hours, 26 minutes into the flight. We show 14½ minutes from time of Entry Interface.
Thirteen minutes now from predicted time of entry. The onboard computer shows a velocity of 30,113 feet per second [9,178 m/s], range-to-go distance 4,683 nautical miles [8,673 km]. Retrofire Officer has just reported to Flight Director Gene Kranz, we look real good here now. TELMU has just reported to Flight Director Gene Kranz that we have now lost tracking on Lunar Module Aquarius.
Eleven minutes away now from time of Entry Interface. Onboard displays show a velocity of 31,141 feet per second [9,492 m/s], range-to-go distance of 4,332 nautical miles [8,023 km]. We're at 142 hours, 30 minutes into the flight of Apollo 13.
142:30:47 Kerwin: Odyssey, Houston. Over.
142:30:49 Swigert: Go ahead.
142:30:50 Kerwin: Okay. At 10 minutes to 400 K, you're looking good; we're real happy with the trajectory, and a minute ago, we just lost contact with your friend Aquarius.
142:31:03 Swigert: Okay. Where did she go?
142:31:07 Kerwin: Oh, I don't know. She's up there somewhere.
142:31:13 Swigert: She sure was a good ship.
142:31:16 Kerwin: Hey, just as I said that, we got another burst of LM data, so I guess it's still ticking.
Comm break.
Nine minutes now from time of Entry Interface. The onboard computer now reading a velocity of 32,193 feet per second [9,812 m/s]. A range-to-go distance of 3,919 nautical miles [7,258 km].
142:33:06 Kerwin: Odyssey, Houston. Your DSKY is doing all the right things. The G&N is GO. Over.
142:33:11 Swigert: Okay. Thank you. [Pause.]
142:33:18 Swigert: You have a good bedside manner, Joe.
142:33:22 Kerwin: Say again, Jack.
142:33:25 Swigert: You have a good bedside manner.
142:33:31 Kerwin: (Laughter) That's the nicest thing anybody's ever said! How about that? [Pause.]
This could be a gentle jibe, or acknowledgment of the astronauts' famous aversion towards the medical profession.
Capcom Joe Kerwin, in addition to being an astronaut, is also a medical doctor.
142:33:43 Swigert: Sure wish I could go to the FIDO party tonight.
142:33:47 Kerwin: (Laughter) Yes, it's going to be a wild one. [Long pause.]
Less then 7 minutes now from entry into the Earth's atmosphere. Onboard display now shows a velocity of 33,383 feet per second [10,175 m/s].
142:34:04 Kerwin: Somebody said, 'We'll - We'll cover for you guys; and, if Jack's got any phone numbers he wants us to call, why, pass them down.'
Long comm break.
A very cheeky Joe Kerwin suggests that the party could be improved by Jack Swigert passing along contact information to eligible guests. This is a clear reference to Swigert's infamous bachelor lifestyle, which was even mentioned by Jim Lovell in the Apollo mission history published later.
Lovell, from Apollo Expeditions to the Moon (NASA SP-350, 1975): "Only when we reached Honolulu did we comprehend our impact: there we found President Nixon and Dr. Paine to meet us, along with my wife, Marilyn, Fred's wife Mary (who, being pregnant, also had a doctor along just in case), and bachelor Jack's parents, in lieu of his usual airline stewardesses."
Astronauts have gathered around the CapCom station. Ken Mattingly, John Young, Tom Stafford, Deke Slayton and CapCom Joe Kerwin. NASA 16mm film capture. NASA/NARA.
Although the PAO updates earlier mention many dignitaries and astronauts taking seats in the VIP viewing room overlooking Mission Control, it is the astronauts who have performed various crucial duties during the mission who have come into the Mission Control room itself. Wouldn't want to be anywhere else, surely.
Range to go now 3,271 nautical miles [6,058 km]. We're 6 minutes now from time of reentry into the Earth's atmosphere.
Five minutes to go now for reentry into the Earths atmosphere. Now reading a velocity of 34,335 feet per second [10,465 m/s]. Range to go 2,921 nautical miles [5,410 km]. Flight Director Gene Kranz now going around the room posting his Flight Control team as to the status.
142:36:15 Kerwin: Odyssey, Houston. Over.
142:36:17 Swigert: Go ahead.
142:36:18 Kerwin: Okay; We just had one last time around the room and everybody says you're looking great.
142:36:24 Swigert: Thank you.
Long comm break.
4 minutes to go now for Entry Interface, velocity now reading now 34,802 feet per second [10,608 m/s], range to go about 2,625 nautical miles [4,862 km].
Still receiving onboard data. Still looking good. Three minutes to go now from the time of entry into the Earth's atmosphere. Onboard display shows a velocity of 35,245 feet per second [10,743 m/s]. Range to go, 2,301 nautical miles [4,261 km].
142:38:14 Swigert: The mood fits the color.
142:38:33 Kerwin: Odyssey, Houston. Over.
142:38:35 Swigert: Go ahead.
142:38:36 Kerwin: Okay LOS is about a minute or a minute and a half; in entry attitude, we'd like Omni Charlie, and welcome home. Over.
142:38:45 Swigert: Thank you.
Very long comm break.
Two minutes to go till entry. Velocity now reading 35,646 feet per second [10,865 m/s]. Range to go, 1,961 nautical miles [3,632 km].
Apollo Control, Houston. We've just had Loss Of Signal from Honeysuckle with Apollo 13. Our last velocity reading was 35,837 feet per second [10,923 m/s] with a range to go of 1,791 nautical miles [3,317 km].
The speed of the spacecraft entering the atmosphere causes a shock wave to form a short distance ahead of the heatshield. The enormous compression of the air molecules at this point converts the energy of their motion into heat to a degree that they are ionized into plasma. This not only creates the plume of fire that will surround the spacecraft, but will also block radio waves and leave them outside radio contact for a few minutes.
The Entry Monitoring System at the Main Display Console. Scan via heroicrelics.org
As the comms blackout begins, they are just about to experience the 0.05g event - when the first hints of deceleration due to atmospheric re-entry occurs. It is at this point that the EMS display will either start automatically, or will be started manually by the crew (as is the case of Apollo 13's landing). From then on the EMS display, based on its own internal accelerometer, will use a moving Mylar scroll to display their entry profile. The digital numeric display shows their velocity. This information could be used to make a manually controlled landing should the automatic computer guidance fail. This not being the case, they are now being flown by the computer running Program 64 'Entry Post 0.05G'.
The switches for manually starting the EMS. Scan via heroicrelics.org
The Entry Monitoring System should have started automatically at this point. Due to the .05g light not illuminating at the predicted moment, Jack hits the switch to start it up manually.
Apollo 13 should have entered the Earth's atmosphere at this time. A few moments ago, we had a report from the Retrofire Officer that based on his data, a predicted set of coordinates for splash of 21 degrees, 39 minutes south of 165 degrees, 22 minutes west. The period of blackout for the spacecraft should have begun about 20-some odd seconds ago.
An artist's imagined view of the Command Module entering Earth atmosphere.
The Entry Shockwave and drag to lift ratio.
As they hit Earth's atmosphere, the Command Module undergoes deceleration as a result of the thickening air offering resistance to the fast-moving object that is the CM. The resulting shockwave generates the fearful heat that threatens to melt down the skin of the vessel falling from space. The heat is strongest at the so-called stagnation point.
Apollo Control, Houston. Apollo 13 should be coming up on max g right now. Our last estimate for max g was 5.2 g's.
Command Module Reentry Aerodynamics
The reentry is not merely a passive event where the capsule hurtles down from space and the crew holds on and hopes for the best. The main forces affecting their trajectory are the drag generated by them hitting the thickening air with a very high speed, as well as lift produced by the hull of the spacecraft acting as a lifting wing-like surface. With the center of mass carefully positioned inside the spacecraft, the Command Module is designed to enter the atmosphere at a somewhat lopsided angle. This will create a usable lift to drag ratio (the relationship between their deceleration, and the lift provided by the air flowing around them). This way, not only will the deceleration slow them down, but the lift will also carry the blunt capsule onto their desired destination. To manipulate this further, the Command Module RCS jets are fired either automatically by the CMC or manually by the crew while consulting the EMS for information on their decceleration and estimated speed and landing location. The RCS jets are used to rotate the spacecraft around its central X axis, thus changing the direction that the lift vector is pointed. This allows them to manipulate their trajectory to a limited degree.
Various entry corridor states and the associated EMS displays.
The EMS has an arrow-like display that indicates the needed direction for the lift vector for each situation. By manipulating the lift direction, the computer - or the crew if doing a manual re-entry, using the EMS as guidance - can control the Command Module's flight path through the atmosphere. For instance, if they are coming in too steeply, the resulting high deceleration can cause intolerable g forces upon the crew and the spacecraft. By aiming the lift vector upwards, they can keep the CM in the thinner parts of the atmosphere, reducing the deceleration on the spacecraft while also making it fly further along and thus extending its flight path. The same way, a too shallow an angle could cause them to overshoot their landing site. In extreme circumstances, the CM could even leave the atmosphere, perhaps going for an extra circle around Earth before re-entering once more. In such a situation, aiming the lift vector down would cause the spacecraft to dig into the denser atmosphere, increasing the drag and shortening their flight path. The guidance also gives them some crossrange capacity of moving their trajectory left and right, to help even further in aiming their landing spot.
Entry Monitoring System Scroll pattern
A long Mylar plastic scroll is printed with the various entry patterns. Upon EMS start, a motor starts to move the scroll to provide a visual indication of the deceleration effects of their present flight path.
We have about a minute and a half to go during this period of blackout. Here in Mission Control, the scene from the recovery ship Iwo Jima has been flashed up on one or our large screens for all our flight controllers to watch. We have about 1 minute to go now to time of end of blackout.
About 30 seconds to go for blackout.
Astronauts await the splashdown. NASA 16 mm film capture. Via NARA.
Ken Mattingly and John Young are prominent in this view of the astronauts waiting to hear from their comrades. CapCom Joe Kerwin has opted for a nervous puff on his pipe. Note the discarded CO2 adapter prototype on the floor next to the console!
Less than 10 seconds now. We will attempt to contact Apollo 13 through one of the ARIA aircraft. Continuing to monitor, this is Apollo Control, Houston.
Apollo 13 should be out of blackout at this time. We are standing by for any reports of ARIA acquisition, ARIA a C-135 type aircraft.
Coming up now on 3 minutes until time of drogue deployment, standing by for any reports of acquisition.
We're had a report that ARIA 4 aircraft has Acquisition Of Signal.
ARIA aircraft, with an S-band antenna system on the oversized nosecone.
142:46:03 Kerwin: Odyssey, Houston standing by. Over.
A tense Joe Kerwin awaits radio contact, or a visual on the CM.
It has taken them longer than predicted to report in, only adding to the nervous waiting. Odyssey's unexpectedly shallow entry angle may have made the blackout period last longer than expected. Although this has been a favorite topic of speculation, the original reports do not pay any heed to it.
142:46:08 Swigert: Okay, Joe.
142:46:12 Kerwin: Okay. We read you, Jack. [Long pause.]
That was Jim Lovell responding with the 'Okay, Joe.' Correction there. That was Command Module pilot Jack Swigert.
142:46:28 Kerwin: We're looking at the weather on TV and it looks just as advertised; real good.
Long comm break.
Less than 2 minutes now from time of drogue deployment.
Less than a minutes away now from time of drogue deployment.
Less than 30 seconds away now from drogue deployment. The drogue deployment - these 2 chutes will provide braking and stabilization prior to main chute deployment. Standing by now for - continue to monitor.
Exterior view of the Command Module.
Pyrotechnic devices are used to separate the forward heat shield - also known as the apex cover - a moment before the drogue chute deployment.
Earth Landing System equipment, under the apex cover.
The circular compartment surrounding the docking tunnel holds the landing systems. This includes the two drogue parachutes, the three main parachutes, radio and strobe light beacons, a dye marker, and the three uprighting bags.
Normal landing sequence.
The apex cover is jettisoned pyrotechnically. Afterwards, pyrotechnic mortars shoot the drogues and their risers up into the air above the spacecraft before deployment. Reefers - ropes that prevent the parachute from being deployed completely at once and hence possibly be damaged - are used for eight seconds, after which pyrotechnic cutters cut these reefing lines and the chutes are allowed to open completely.
142:48:53 Kerwin: Odyssey, Houston standing by for your Noun 67 when you get it. Over. [Long pause.]
Noun 67 displays their range to go to their landing target, as well as their latitude and longitude. It would be the last thing displayed by Program 67 - 'Entry - Final Phase'. Once their chutes open, guidance is terminated and the computer goes dormant, its mission over.
142:49:17 Swigert: We got two good drogues.
142:49:20 Kerwin: Roger that.
142:49:21 Swigert: [Garble] thousand. [Long pause.]
A report of 2 good drogues. Coming up now for main chutes.
Standing by for confirmation of main chutes.
142:50:06 Kerwin: Odyssey, Houston. We show you on the mains, it really looks great. [Pause.]
At 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) the drogue chutes are released and at the same time, pilot chutes are deployed. They are little parachutes that are used to pull out the main chutes. Reefing lines prevent the main chutes from opening fully for the first 8 seconds, after which they are allowed to fully inflate for the final braking of their landing.
An extremely loud applause here in Mission Control.
142:50:15 Kerwin: Got you on television, babe.
142:50:17 Swigert: [Garble]. [Pause.]
Mission Control erupts in joy.
An extremely loud applause as Apollo 13 on main chutes comes through loud and clear on the television display here.
142:50:26 Swimmer 2: Iwo Jima Control, this is Swim 2. I have a visual bearing 182. [Pause.]
142:50:34 USS Iwo Jima: Iwo Jima; Roger.
142:50:39 Recovery helicopters: Iwo Jima Control, this is [garble] Recovery. I have a visual bearing 190. Over.
142:50:44 USS Iwo Jima: Iwo Jima; Roger. [Pause.]
142:50:52 Swimmer 1: Iwo Jima, Swim I has a visual at 110. [Garble].
142:50:57 USS Iwo Jima: Iwo Jima; Roger.
142:50:59 Recovery helicopters: Apollo 13, Apollo 13, this is Recovery. Over. [Long pause.]
A recovery helicopter has just put in a call to Apollo 13.
142:51:18 Recovery helicopters: Apollo 13, Apollo 13, this is Recovery. Over. [Long pause.]
We have a report from the Iwo Jima that Apollo 13 at a distance of 4 miles from the ship.
142:51:47 Recovery helicopters: Apollo 13...
142:51:49 Swigert: Go ahead.
The smoke you see is venting of RCS propellants, a Reaction Control System propellants.
142:51:55 Swigert: ...see you loud and clear going through 5,000.
142:51:59 Recovery helicopters: Roger, Apollo 13. This is Recovery and your chutes look good. [Pause.]
142:52:11 Recovery helicopters: Apollo 13, this is Recovery. We observed your RCS burn. Over.
Comm break.
You heard the conversation between the recovery helicopter and the crew of Apollo 13. The floor of the Mission Operations Control Room now crowded and there are visible smiles on the faces of the flight controllers and astronauts in this room.
142:53:38 Recovery helicopters: This is Recovery. Apollo 13 is descending through 2000 feet.
142:53:42 USS Iwo Jima: Okay. Our altimeter concurs.
142:53:47 USS Iwo Jima: Iwo Jima; Roger. Out. [Long pause.]
A report from the Iwo Jima that Apollo 13 is descending at a point 4 miles due south of the ship.
142:54:09 Recovery helicopters: Apollo 13 and Recovery passing through 1,000 feet.
The Command Module nearing splashdown.
142:54:14 USS Iwo Jima: Iwo Jima; Roger. [Long pause.]
142:54:34 Recovery helicopters: Through 500 feet.
142:54:38 Swimmer 1: Swim 1 on station.
142:54:40 Swimmer 2: ...2 is on station.
142:54:44 Photographic helicopters: Photo 1's on station. Photo 1 observes splashdown at this time.
The splashdown viewed on the TV from the recovery helicopter.
142:54:48 USS Iwo Jima: 1 [garble] pickup [garble].
142:54:49 Swimmer 1: Roger. [Pause.]
Another cheer in the control room as we had splashdown.
Jubilant Flight Controllers in Mission Control.
Gerry Griffin has raised his hand in a victorious thumbs up, next to Gene Kranz and and a beaming, applauding Glynn Lunney.
142:54:56 Photographic helicopters: Photo-1. Splashdown at this time. The three chutes are displaced. They're in the water. [Long pause.]
The moment of splashdown of Apollo 13's Command Module.
142:55:12 Recovery: Helicopters: [Garble] Recovery, I have a clock...
The remaining radio traffic and exchanges are provided via the PAO loop transcript that contained additional post-splashdown material.
142:55:15 Recovery 1: [Garble] 3½ miles Iwo Jima.
142:55:24 Speaker: Iwo Jima, Roger.
142:55:26 Recovery 1:This 401 the Command Module is stable 1 at this time. They are riding comfortably. [Long pause.]
Lovell, from 1970 Technical debrief: "The last thing that slipped out was the main chute after cold soaking for that time. After that, Fred fell asleep."
Stable 1 means that the Command Module is floating upright. Stable 2 would mean that a wave or a gust of wind on the parachutes has toppled them upside down. This occurred multiple times during the Apollo landings. A switch was pressed to cut the parachute free right after landing to prevent this, but it was not always on time.
The Command Module in the water, moments after splashdown. TV capture.
142:55:43 Recovery: Recovery [garble] main chutes. [Long pause.]
The spacecraft splashed in Stable 1. That's with the apex cover up, out of the water.
Lovell, from 1970 Technical debrief: "The impact was as designed because the sea state was slow and we knifed in. It was less impact than Apollo 8 and we stayed stable I. Fred cut in on two circuit breakers and Jack jettisoned the chutes."
Haise, from 1970 Technical debrief: "I think I only had one in at the time he hit the button, but that's all it takes."
Lovell, from 1970 Technical debrief: "Everything worked exactly like the checklist worked."
Swigert, from 1970 Technical debrief: "We just went right down the checklist, item by item."
Lovell, from 1970 Technical debrief: "The only thing we forgot to do - I guess I forgot to punch to get lat-long out of the computer."
Haise, from 1970 Technical debrief: "The last time I saw, we had miss distance of 0.8 mile. the choppers asked us if we had lat-long laid out and at the time, we didn't have. It might be of interest to point out that, after we hit and had gone through this smoke and entry, we were all three sitting there on the couches, laying in that 81-degree water, blowing frosty smoke out of our mouths. It was still icy cold in the CM."
142:56:12 Recovery 1: The vertical axis are approximately 15 degrees. [Long pause.]
142:56:32 Recovery: Recovery is maneuvering to grab hold of the main chute the 2 other chutes are still visible in the water. Swim 1, you are clear to move up to position to retrieve the other chutes.
142:56:39 Swimmer 1: Swim 1. Roger.
142:56:50 Photographic helicopters: This is photo 1, I observe the flashing light on top of the Command Module. [Pause.]
The recovery strobe beacon has activated automatically.
142:57:03 Recovery: 1 on 270. [Pause.]
142:57:16 Recovery: Warm present [garble] Winds in the area from 270 magnetic to approximately 6 knots. [Long pause.]
Recovery 1 will be the - will perform the pickup of the crew.
142:57:39 Recovery: Recovery beacon antenna atop the command Module. [Long pause.]
142:58:00 Recovery: This is photo 1. The Mylar covering above the exterior of the Command Module has been removed in the area opposite the crew exit hatch. [Pause.]
142:58:16 ARIA: ARIA, our recovery has been one of the main chutes [garble] has deployed a raft, just opened. [Garble]. [Garble]. [Pause.]
142:58:38 Recovery 1: [Garble] in the Command Module there's swells 3 to 5 feet from the vehicle. Sea is approximately 1 to 2 feet. [Pause.]
142:58:58 Iwo Jima: Photo, this is Iwo Jima. Interrogative astronaut condition ordered.
142:59:03 Recovery: 41, Roger. Brings Apollo 13 a crew condition, okay. Over.
142:59:10 Recovery 1: [Garble].
142:59:14 Recovery 1: Roger. Copy, Iwo Jima.
142:59:17 Iwo Jima: Iwo Jima, copy. [Pause.]
142:59:25 Iwo Jima: This is for a [garble] conditions in a recovery area, approximately 6/10, cloud cover, combination high cirrus and low stratos. [Pause.]
142:59:41 Recovery 4: Iwo Jima, this is recovery. I am assuming Odyssey commander just fine, unless otherwise directed commence a retrieval operation in one minute. Over.
142:59:54 Iwo Jima: This is Iwo Jima, Roger.
142:59:58 Recovery 1: Continue retrieval of that magnitude 12 to 2. You're clear, got you ready for mission. Recovery is taking backup for the gentlemen. [Pause.]
143:00:19 Recovery 1: This is photo 1 presently unable to see the third main chute. But Swim 1 is grappling the second main chute. [Pause.]
143:00:34 Speaker: [Garble].
143:00:41 Kerwin: Okay, Jack you got 13's drift.
143:00:44 Recovery: The Command Module is very slight at this time in the direction of and a 1 to 10 magnetic. [Long pause.]
143:01:22 Recovery: Presently Swim 1 is still attempting to make connection with the second main chute. [Long pause.]
143:01:42 Recovery: Swim 4 unable to grab it at [garble] before we could graple.
143:01:48 Recovery: This is recovery, Roger, understand.
143:01:51 Swim 1: Swim 1 stand by for a hit.
143:01:55 Swim 1: Swim 1, Over. [Garble], Over.
143:02:07 Swim 1: Roger, swim 1 should [garble] so speeds to the apex cover and the [garble].
143:02:18 Recovery: Swim 2, this is Recovery. You're clear to deploy a swimmer at sea anchor.
143:02:24 Swim 2: Roger. [Long pause.]
143:02:46 Recovery 1: This is photo 1, observe the uprighting bags are partially inflated at this time. [Long pause.]
We copied the report and see it visually; the uprighting bags inflated.
143:03:07 Photo 1: This is Photo 1 estimates uprighting bags are approximately ⅓ inflated. I can see partial inflation on all 3 uprighting bags. [Pause.]
143:03:26 Recovery 1: Apollo 13, This is Recovery.
143:03:28 Lovell: Go ahead.
143:03:30 Recovery 1: Roger 13, this is Recovery will you confirm a successful RCS dump; over.
143:03:36 Lovell: That's affirmative; we had a successful dump.
It is important for the rescue units to know whether the remaining Command Module RCS propellant has been dumped overboard. Should propellant remain in the system, particularly the hydrazine fuel, they might be exposed to these extremely toxic substances while approaching the spacecraft after landing.
143:03:39 Recovery 1: We [garble].
143:03:49 Photo 1: This is Photo 1; the first swimmer has been deployed. The signals are thumbs up in the water; in good condition. [Pause.]
All clear so far!
143:04:03 Photo 1: He is making his way to the Command Module. [Pause.]
143:04:14 Photo 1: Inflation of the uprighting bags estimated to be 40 percent. 40 percent.
143:04:28 Photo 1: The first swimmer is at the Command Module. They will commence to anchor an attachment shortly.
143:04:38 Recovery 1: Apollo 13, this is Recovery; over.
143:04:45 Lovell: Go ahead Recovery; 13 here.
143:04:48 Recovery: Roger; this Recovery; do you have lap to go on [garble] formula?
143:04:56 Swigert: No sir; we closed the display, and were helping Houston copy it; we didn't let it out over the air.
143:05:03 Recovery: [Garble] Roger out.
143:05:07 Swigert: Will you give us our distance to the ship?
143:05:09 Recovery: It appears from Recovery your present distance from the ship 1 mile - 3002; you're splash down point 3 - 3 miles from the Iwo Jima.
143:05:24 Swigert: Thank you.
143:05:28 Photo: This is Photo 1; the sea anchor has been attached, and have done [garble] observed a thumbs up from the swimmers.
The sea anchor will prevent the Command Module from drifting excessively. This will make all subsequent rescue efforts easier.
143:05:35 Recovery: Swim 2, This is Recovery. You are clear to deploy two swimmers and the flotation collar; over.
143:05:43 Photo: Roger, Roger. [Pause.]
The sea anchor attached to a pad eye on the side of the Apollo 13 Command Module.
143:05:52 Recovery: We're getting thumbs up. Everything progressing satisfactorily.
Apollo rescue swimmer hand signals.
This done to slow down the drift.
143:06:01 Recovery: Has oriented the Command Module in the customary manner.
143:06:25 Recovery: Swim 2 is moving in; to deploy the flotation collar and two additional swimmers. Swim 1 has deployed a smoke in the area, and is attempting to restrain the accessories. [Pause.]
143:06:49 Recovery: Swim 1 has deployed a swimmer in the water. Swim 2 has deployed 2 swimmers. I see a thumbs up, and the flotation collar is deployed.
143:07:05 Recovery: The uprighting bags are inflated approximately 90 percent at this time. The swimmers are working the flotation collar in, to the Command Module.
143:07:40 Recovery: The flotation collar is at the Command Module; the front seat is being extracted, and it is being pulled around the Command Module. [Long pause.]
The still deflated flotation collar being attached to the Command Module. TV capture.
An inflatable flotation collar is attached by the rescue swimmers onto the circumference of the Command Module. It will provide extra security and stability during the crew recovery.
The flotation collar will be pulled around the Command Module with a bungee cord.
143:08:15 Recovery: One section of the bungee is being attached to the sea anchor attachment ring; it appears to be satisfactorily connected; the second section of the bungee is approximately 90 percent around the Command Module. [Pause.]
The flotation collar will be hooked to a bungee line, by a line with rings on the flotation collar, and will be pulled around before it is inflated.
143:08:12 Recovery: Inflation collar has commenced. It is approximately 20 percent around the Command Module. [Pause.]
143:08:12 Recovery: The flotation collar is approximately 60 percent deployed around the Command Module [Pause.]
143:09:18 Recovery 1: There is no apparent drift of the Command Module at this time. [Long pause.]
And after the collar is secured the two 7-man life rafts will be dropped with sea anchors attached to the bottom. This is done to keep the rafts from turning over from helicopter backwash.
143:09:43 Recovery 1: Inflation collar's progressing normally.
143:09:50 Recovery 1: [garble] completed around the Command Module.
143:09:56 Recovery 1: We are standing by for inflation. [Long pause.]
143:10:34 Kerwin: [garble] to Iwo Jima. Request your pass to Apollo. Turn off recovery beacon. Over.
143:10:40 Recovery 1: Roger, Break Apollo 13 do you copy?
143:10:43 Lovell: Roger, [garble] will turn off.
143:10:44 Kerwin: Roger. [Pause.]
143:10:52 Recovery: Inflation of the flotation collar presently normal. Standing by for inflation. Our [garble] flotation taking place at this time. Recovery is 60 percent complete. Flotation of - inflation of the flotation collar appears complete at this time. [Long pause.]
143:11:40 Recovery: Apollo 13 appears to be riding a little more comfortably at this time. The axis is negligible. [Long pause.]
143:11:59 Recovery: The swimmer is installing securing straps. This has [garble] to the power bolt on the upper deck. Efforts are made and he gives the signal for deployment of the egress raft.
143:12:16 Recovery 1: [Garble] this is recovery. You are clear to deploy the egress raft [garble] backup position. Recovery goes to ready position.
143:12:26 Unknown Speaker: Ready, Roger.
143:12:28 Recovery: [Garble]. One further adjustment is being made for the securing straps.
143:12:35 Unknown Speaker: Situation is normal. [Long pause.]
143:13:14 Recovery: Swimmer 2 has commenced his maneuvering for deploy of the egress raft.
143:13:32 Recovery: Swimmer 2 is in position. The crewmen are standing by at the hatch. The egress raft is in the water now approximately 10 feet from the Command Module. [Pause.]
143:13:50 Recovery: Two swimmers have the raft [garble] and are swimming it to the Command Module.
143:14:15 Recovery: The raft is at the Command Module. The swimmers are opening it.
The next step in our sequence is to open the hatch.
143:14:25 Recovery: Inflation has begun of the egress raft. [Pause.]
143:14:39 Recovery: The inflation appears to be satisfactory. [Long pause.]
143:14:55 Recovery: The swimmers are working to secure the egress raft to the flotation collar. [Long pause.]
Swimmers are about to attach the newly inflated raft to the flotation collar in front of the hatch.
A specially designed inflatable raft is filled and attached to the flotation collar, to stand by to receive the crew from inside the Command Module.
143:15:12 Recovery: We presently have three swimmers in the water and I observe the signal, assembly here.
143:15:21 Recovery: The Recovery is making approach to the deploy from the [garble]. [Long pause.]
143:15:42 Recovery: Swim leader is in the water, comes up. Good condition. Stand by. [Pause.]
143:15:57 Recovery: Swim leader approaching the Command Module. At this time, the inflation of the platform of the egress raft has been completed and is satisfactory. [Long pause.]
143:16:27 Recovery: The situation static at this time presently has two swimmers in the egress raft, and two swimmers standing by in the water. The swim leader is standing on the flotation collar checking the interior of the Command Module.
143:16:47 Unknown speaker: [Garble] go ahead for [garble]. [Long pause.]
143:17:07 Recovery: A swim leader is standing on the flotation collar appearing in the forward viewing windows. [Long pause.]
143:17:37 Recovery: Recovery is trying to approach to deploy the astronaut's flotation equipment. [Long pause.]
143:17:54 Recovery: Recovery is moving into position; the rescue net is halfway down.
143:18:23 Recovery: Recovery is maneuvering to place the rescue net in the egress raft. A swim leader, has the rescue net in hand and it is in the egress raft. The equipment is being removed [garble]. Now the rescue net is on its way back. [Long pause.]
143:19:14 Recovery: The swim leader is at the crew access hatch. He appears to be getting ready to open the access hatch. He is checking into the forward viewing window. [Pause.]
The egress raft is ready and the diver is looking into the Command Module
The Command Module side hatch can be opened from the outside, as well as the inside.
143:19:33 Tracking Ship: Roger sir. Iwo Jima repeat one more time on item Papa [garble] minus 113 USB.
143:19:47 Tracking Ship: Over. [Pause.]
143:19:56 Tracking Ship: Roger. Copy. Minus 113 dBm signal strength.
143:20:02 Relay: Photo 1. The crew hatch is open. The equipment is being passed to the astronauts. The hatch is closed again. [Garble].
The crew has been given some life jackets to wear. The normal recovery procedure would include the swimmer passing them flight suits and filtration masks to wear to prevent contamination of the recovery crew before the crew is transferred to the Mobile Quarantine Facility onboard the carrier. This is of course not needed now.
143:20:15 Tracking Ship: Roger. Copy all.
143:20:25 Relay: Situation static at this time. The two swimmers are standing by in safety position in two the water. The two swimmers have the egress raft.
143:20:34 Tracking Ship: Roger, sir. We copy and their picking it up [garble].
The three Apollo 13 crewmembers will be hoisted up into the Recovery 1 helicopter by the Billy Pugh net, the device you see that looks much like a half birdcage. For the first time, there are stiffeners in this net, the Billy Pugh net has been used on previous recoveries. These made out of aluminum to provide rigidity to the net. The three Apollo crewmembers will exit the spacecraft into the egress raft. The Billy Pugh net, by the way, has a center of gravity, which is forward of the center line toward the open end to assure that...
143:21:55 Relay: The situation is nominal at this time. Standing by while the astronauts make their preparations inside the Command Module. [Pause.]
143:22:10 Unknown: ARIA, to MC ARIA Control. [Long pause.]
This forward center of gravity is designed to assure that an individual being picked up would not tumble out.
143:22:24 Relay: The swim leader is opening the crew access hatch. It is completely open.
143:22:32 Unknown: Roger [garble] okay.
143:22:41 Relay: The first astronaut is climbing out of the Command Module, and is in the egress raft.
143:22:49 Unknown: ARIA to ARIA control [garble].
143:22:54 Relay: The second is now on his way out, assisted by swin leaders.
143:23:01 Iwo Jima: And you want that on all. The third astronaut's on the Iwo Jima raft, third astronaut is standing on flotation collar egress raft [garble].
TV capture shows the crewmen being helped out of the Command Module by rescue swimmers.
143:23:45 Relay: Swim leader is making his final check prior to closing the access hatch. The hatch is closed. He is securing it with the hatch [garble]. [Long pause.]
143:24:16 Relay: We have three swimmers in the safety position in the water. Swim leader is giving the signal for the rescue net. [Long pause.]
143:24:35 Relay: Recovery is manuevering for position to commence receive the astronauts. [Pause.]
143:24:52 Relay: The rescue net is half way down. [Long pause.]
143:25:06 Unknown: One, two, three, four, five, one, two, three, two, one. One, two, three, four, five.
143:25:11 Unknown: Okay.
The rescue net is received at the egress raft. The Apollo crewmen are ready to go up.
143:25:16 Relay: The rescue net is in hand resting on the platform. The first astronaut is climbing aboard, the signal is given, ready for lift.
143:25:32 Relay: The first astronaut is on his way up, next one [garble] wait. [Pause.]
Fred Haise being hoisted up.
Sickly Fred gets the first ride off the sea and into the relative safety of the helicopter.
143:25:44 Relay: The first astronaut is half way up. [Long pause.]
143:25:59 Relay: The first astronaut is at the cargo hatch and is safely aboard the helicopter. [Long pause.]
143:26:22 Helicopter 1: Recovery I have astronaut Haise aboard and his condition is excellent.
143:26:28 Iwo Jima: Iwo Jima copy. [Long pause.]
143:26:49 Relay: Recovery is in position for second retrieval. Rescue net is being positioned in the egress raft. [Long pause.]
143:27:22 Relay: The rescue net is in the raft. [Pause.]
143:27:31 Relay: It's positioned on the platform. The second astronaut is climbing aboard. The signal is given for arise. He is on his way up. [Pause.]
143:27:55 Relay: The second astronaut is half way up. Half point pickup, no oscillation. [Pause.]
Jack Swigert going up.
143:28:11 Relay: The rescue net is at the cargo hatch, and the second astronaut is safely aboard.
Jack Swigert hoisted to the rescue chopper.
143:28:20 Recovery: This is Recovery. I have astronaut Swigert onboard. He reports he feels fine.
143:28:28 Iwo Jima: Iwo Jima, copy. [Long pause.]
143:28:52 Relay: Recovery is manuevering for position. For the third retrieval. [Pause.]
The rescue net being moved to the egress raft for Jim Lovell. The Captain leaves last.
143:29:08 Relay: Swim leader has the rescue net. It is positioned aboard the platform.
143:29:22 Relay: The third astronaut is climbing aboard, it is thumbs up, ready to lift. [Pause.]
143:29:36 Relay: The third astronaut is on his way up. [Pause.]
143:29:48 Relay: The third astronaut is half way up. [Pause.]
143:29:59 Relay: The third astronaut is nearing the cargo hatch. He is safely aboard. [Pause.]
143:30:15 Recovery: This is recovery. I have Capt. Lovell aboard. He reports he feels fine. Over.
143:30:20 Iwo Jima: Iwo Jima, Copy. [Garble].
Lovell, from 1970 Technical debrief: "Egress was good and we had a good crew pickup."
143:30:23 Recovery: [Garble] starboard [garble]. [Pause.]
143:32:09 Recovery: [Garble] this is Recovery. You are clear to deploy your [garble] one.
143:32:12 Recovery: Roger, Roger. [Long pause.]
143:32:49 Iwo Jima: Recovery and Photo, this is Iwo Jima towers. Report your gear and you have charlie on spots 3 and 5. Your wind is 10 starboard and at 10 knots.
143:33:00 Recovery: This is Recovery. Roger. Copied. Be advised I'll make a wide circle in order to allow the passengers to get into their flight suits.
143:33:10 Iwo Jima: Roger Recovery.
This remarkable comment reveals the lengths taken to welcome the crew home - to allow them to get dressed for the occasion! The normal recovery plan would have had them get dressed in the Command Module before leaving it for the egress raft.
143:35:12 Unknown speaker: [Garble] FAO.
143:35:14 Unknown speaker: Hey, I'd like to update this [garble]. [Long pause.]
143:35:29 Recovery: Iwo tower, this is [garble]. We - this is Recovery. We estimate we'll be ready to touch down in 4 minutes, 4 minutes away.
143:35:39 Iwo Jima: Recovery, tower. Roger. [Long pause.]
143:36:24 Iwo Jima: Recovery, this is Iwo Jima tower. Pass to Captain Lovell that we will have a brief ceremony on the flight deck then they will be talking to their wives [garble] in sick bay. Over.
143:36:36 Recovery: Iwo Tower, Recovery, Roger will do.
Comm break.
Here in the Mission Control Center, the tempo of conversation has picked up considerably. That's one thing you normally do not hear, is loud voices but they are certainly loud and happy voices at this point.
143:37:48 Recovery: [Garble] Apollo 13.
143:37:55 Iwo Jima: Roger, you're at [garble] Charlie at 3 by [garble] to Recovery to 11.
143:38:01 Recovery: Recovery, Roger out.
143:38:02 Unknown speaker: [Garble] photo wants to [garble].
143:38:04 Iwo Jima: Iwo tower, Roger, your charlie [garble] your [garble]. [Long pause.]
As we look around the room we see a large representation of the astronaut corps. Donald K. Slayton of course is here. He's been here all night. Alan Shepard, Commander for Apollo 14, and Joe Engle is here, Tom Stafford, Chief of the Astronaut Office, Vance Brand, who served as a support crew member for Apollo 13.
143:38:43 Iwo Jima: Which swim aircraft remains out?
143:38:47 Recovery: This is Recovery. Negative [garble].
143:38:51 Iwo Jima: Roger, Swim 1, we're moving in. You babies ready?
143:38:56 Unknown speaker: [Garble]. [Long pause.]
The rescue helicopter has landed, and a red carpet is being rolled out for the crew.
Gene Cernan, backup Commander for Apollo 14 is here, Tony England, who served as the scientist for the Apollo 13 crew is in the room at this time as is John Young.
A black and white TV image captures the cheering Mission Control, including Ken Mattingly.
143:39:24 Iwo Jima: [Garble] Rescue 1. [Long pause.]
Lovell, Swigert and Haise greet the crew of Iwo Jima from the helicopter steps.
The crew steps out wearing bespoke flight suits that are adorned with NASA and Apollo 13 patches, as well as custom caps with their names. The Iwo Jima, being the primary recovery ship, would have been carrying these articles of clothing for them to wear for the landing.
The exact moment the picture above was taken, as seen in Mission Control.
143:39:46 Unknown speaker: to give you a hearty "well done". [Long pause.]
143:40:35 Iwo Jima: [Garble] 13.
143:40:39 Recovery: Roger out. [Long pause.]
143:41:03 Unknown speaker: [Garble]. [Long pause.]
Eager officials and crew meet the astronauts as they walk along the red carpet to greet the Commanding Officer of the carrier.
The applause you just heard in the Mission Control Center came from a message delivered by Administrator Thomas Paine over the Flight Director's loop congratulating - from the President of the United States congratulating the team of Apollo 13.
Celebratory cigars in Mission Control. Live TV from the Iwo Jima is projected on the big screen.
143:41:17 Unknown Speaker: [Garble]. [Pause.]
143:41:26 Unknown Speaker: [Garble] net 1. Over.
Comm break.
The crew greeted by commanding officers of the USS Iwo Jima and the recovery task force.
143:42:54 Iwo Jima: I want to commend you on your navigation. Welcome onboard the Iwo Jima.
143:43:02 Iwo Jima: I would like to ask the Chaplain to say a real brief prayer of thanks.
Photograph of the prayer for the safe return of the crew. Ship's Chaplain, Commander Philip E. Jerauld officiating.
143:43:08 Chaplain Jerauld: Let us pray. Oh Lord, we joyfully welcome back to Earth astronauts Lovell, Haise, and Swigert. Who by your grace, their skill, and the skill of many men survived the dangers encountered in their mission and returned to Earth, safe and whole. We offer our humble thanksgiving for the successful recovery. Amen.
Video capture of the prayer, from the TV stream.
143:43:41 Photo: Now for some additional picture taking. Might not only be professional phographers aboard but also a good many ...
One of the many photos of the crew posing on the deck.
143:43:57 Speaker: [Garble].
143:45:02 Speaker: Down into the sick bay, medical facility now for 3 hours, of physical examinations. Now they're on the elevator there now. Joking about those beards. Jim Lovell seemed to be having some fun there with his beard. A momentary wait on the elevator here while the photographers get a few more pictures. This is an elaborate medical facility the Iwo Jima has onboard. And, as we said, there will be nine doctors down there awaiting Jim Lovell, John Swigert and Fred Haise. That's 3 doctors to an astronaut. And the first two flip samples, the findings medically speaking will be flown off as soon as possible, to the laboratories. I've been getting a look from the hangar deck of the elevator, who's down from top side. The elevator they use of course to transport the helicopters from hangar deck to flight deck. Once they get down they'll have a fairly short walk, maybe 30 or 40 yards over into the - an opening leading up the medical facility. Sick bay, which may be a misnomer in this case. It does not appear anybody is sick. That's Captain Kirkemo - I know that is. And of course there will be some fast telephone calls we assume to some waiting wives at home. I wouldn't be surprised to see those phones ringing very shortly. There they go. Into the entrance of the medical facility and that should be all we see of them now for the next 3 hours or so, and possibly get an early medical report on what their conditions indeed are. But - the Apollo 13 men home safely aboard the carrier Iwo Jima out here; a perfect recovery; it couldn't have been better - it couldn't...
This is Apollo Control, Houston, at the Mission Operations Control Room; there must be almost 200 people at this point and it appears as though everybody is talking, shaking hands, the cigars have been passed out...
143:50:08 Iwo Jima: [Garble] on display down here now. I have here with me right now Commander Spiuey. I'm prepared to put Commander Spiuey on the air as soon as he gets here in a couple of minutes. I would - we appreciate ... [Garble]
The plaque for Apollo 13 has just been placed on the wall in the Mission Control Room; that brought about this loud applause we just heard. [Cheering and applause.]
This is Apollo Control, Houston; we expect to have 3 news conferences picking up shortly in the Bldg. 1 auditorium, the first starting in approximately 30 minutes with NASA Administrator Thomas Paine and Deputy Administrator George Low, this will be followed approximately 30 minutes later involving Dale Myers, Associate Administrator for Manned Spaceflight, and Dr. Gilruth, Robert Gilruth, Director of the Manned Spacecraft Center, Mr. Rocco Petrone, Apollo Program Director, Jim McDivitt, Manager of the Apollo Spacecraft Program Office at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, and Mr. Chris Kraft, Deputy Director at MSC. Following that will be a third news conference with Mission Director Chet Lee, Director of Flight Operations, Sig Sjoberg, and Lead Flight Director for this mission, Milt Windler, and Mr. Ozzie [Ozro] Covington, of the Goddard Spaceflight Center. We copied splashdown at 142 hours, 54 minutes, 44 seconds from liftoff, and this is Apollo Control, Houston, signing off at this time.

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