Remembering Apollo 13
Evening Program with Book Signing
Wednesday, April 15, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.
Fifty years ago, humans around the globe participated in the greatest of all explorations: the moon landings of the Apollo program. With the Apollo 11 flight in July 1969 the United States achieved the national goal of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth before the end of the decade.
The Apollo 13 mission of April 1970, which would have been the third landing mission, almost ended in tragedy when an explosion occurred on the spacecraft on its way to the moon with astronauts James Lovell, Fred Haise, and Jack Swigert. What appeared to be a disaster of major proportions with the possible loss of the crew turned into a global rescue mission with their safe return after six harrowing days in space.
Roger D. Launius, former chief NASA historian and former associate director for collections and cultural affairs of the Air and Space Museum, and William F. Causey, a senior docent at the museum, examine the unique story of the Apollo 13 mission, from the last-minute replacement of one of the crew, to the hardships experienced by the crew after the explosion, to the heroic behind-the-scene efforts to find a way to bring the crew safely back to Earth.
They also take a broader look at the political origins of the American moon program, how NASA’s decision to use the method of lunar orbit rendezvous to send men to the moon helped save the lives of the Apollo 13 crew eight years later, and of the significance of Apollo after half a century.
Launius’s book Apollo’s Legacy: Perspective on the Moon Landings (Smithsonian Books), and Causey’s book John Houbolt: The Unsung Hero of the Apollo Moon Landings (Purdue University Press), are available for sale and signing following the program.
S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)