Apollo 13 Crew Members Speak In Fayetteville

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FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) – Three of the key role players in the 1970 Apollo 13 mission were at Bud Walton Arena on Thursday (Apr. 23) night, to talk about the historic mission.

“We did something I think the whole country was proud of,” said James Lovell, Captain of the flight traveling to the moon.

Fred Haise, the lunar module pilot, and Gene Kranz, the flight director at mission control in Houston, also spoke at the event.

The trio spoke about the thoughts running through their heads following an oxygen tank explosion that left their spacecraft 200,000 miles from Earth.

“The strongest emotion I felt, was sick to my stomach in disappointment,” Haise said. “When we first realized we had lost the one oxygen tank, without referencing the mission rules, I knew we had to abort. And, I knew we weren`t going to be able to land.”

“Soon after that survival feeling went away, then [my mindset was] one of disappointment,” Lovell said. “It was disappointment and frustration for several years after that. This [was] going to be my last flight, and that was the epitome of what I wanted to do.”

The crew followed that up with how their training helped prepare them for the situation.

“For the first several minutes of this crisis, you try to avoid doing something dumb,” Kranz said.

“It shows what people can do with good leadership, team work, and motivation,” Lovell said.

Lovell said the crew’s ability to speak with mission control was a key factor in their survival.

“The one thing that we did have throughout the flight was communications,” Lovell said.

One of the most common household terms in the United States is “Houston, we have a problem.” The crew discussed the legitimacy of that line in the movie.

Lovell said that part of the movie was real, and he remembers saying those words.

Lovell said, outside of a scene which featured a made-up argument between crew members, the movie was mostly accurate.

“They did a very good job,” Lovell said.

The crew said they have answered just about every question imaginable about their flight, in the past 45 years.

However, Lovell said they often still wonder about one of those questions they often receive.

“What would have happened if Apollo 13 was a success” Lovell questioned.

The event was part of the University of Arkansas’ distinguished lecture series, and was free to the public.