fifty years ago April 7, 1970 Archives

Countdown for Apollo-13 begins

The countdown for launching Apollo-13 next Saturday started at 10 p.m. last night (April 5, Cape Kennedy) as planned, despite a hitch which threatens to postpone the moon flight for a month. The decision to start the countdown was taken at the last moment, after a thorough discussion of the best way to right the fault. Space agency officials described the problem as a heat loss in the super critical helium which pressurises the descent engines used by the astronauts to land on the moon. The helium reservoirs are to be kept under watch until 10 a.m. on Monday (April 6) when a decision will be taken as to whether or not their replacement will be necessary. The heat loss from the super cold helium will increase pressure in the tank. If the pressure becomes too high when it is ignited, the combustion chamber could explode, aborting the mission and possibly endangering the spacemen. Saturday is the only launch day available this month for the desired Fra Mauro landing area. If the shot cannot go then, it will be postponed until May. The astronauts who will make the lunar journey, James A. Lovell Jr.,Thomas K. Mattingly II and Fred Haise Jr., took a day off from their rigorous training yesterday (April 5).

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Printable version | Jul 4, 2020 3:54:17 PM |

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