Apollo 13

Apollo 13

Produced a year before Ron Howard's film of the doomed space mission hit Hollywood, To the Edge and Back brings the real faces of the Apollo 13 saga to the forefront. Astronauts Jim Lovell and Fred Haise talk about the flight (Jack Swigert died in 1982) while the technicians, including mission operations director Chris Kraft and flight director Gene Kranz, recall the moon shot and the near-fatal explosion. It's still hard to make the story fill an hour, so there's time to examine the space race in general and show previous missions. The "showing" part is the program's weakness. Ron Howard used no real footage in his film, which was smart since there really isn't a lot of interesting footage, just the usual launch and TV transmissions. Simple computer animations fill in the gaps, yet even the money shot--a still picture of the damaged spacecraft--is not shown. Still, this is a key document for those digging to see the "real" behind the story. It works as a wonderful "extra" to the Oscar-winning Hollywood film. --Doug Thomas

Director(s): Ron Howard
Production: Universal Pictures
  Won 2 Oscars. Another 24 wins & 49 nominations.
 
IMDB:
7.6
Metacritic:
77
Rotten Tomatoes:
95%
PG
Year:
1995
140
Website
33,450 Views

Gene Kranz:
Okay, people! Listen up! I want you all to forget the flight plan. From this moment on, we are improvising a new mission. [Kranz turns on an overheard projector and the bulb burns out] How do we get our people home? [drawing with chalk on blackboard] They are here. We turn them around? Straight back? Direct abort?

Bobby Spencer:
Yes! Gene...

MOCR Engineer:
No, we can't do that...

Jerry Bostick:
No, sir. No, sir! We get them on a free return trajectory. It's the option with the fewest question marks for safety.

Gene Kranz:
I agree with Jerry. We use the moon's gravity to slingshot them around.

Bobby Spencer:
No! The L.E.M. will not support three guys for that amount of time!

Larry Strimple:
It barely holds two.

Bobby Spencer:
I mean, we have got to do a direct abort. We do an about face, we bring the guys right home right now.

Larry Strimple:
Get them back soon, absolutely.

Jerry Bostick:
We don't even know if the Odyssey's engine's even working, and if there's been serious damage to this spacecraft...

Ray Teague:
They blow up and they die.

Bobby Spencer:
That is not the argument! We are talking about time!

Ray Teague:
Oh, come on! I'm not going to sugarcoat this for you!

Gene Kranz:
Let's hold it. Let's hold it down. Let's hold it down, people. The only engine we've got with enough power for a direct abort is the S.P.S. on the service module. From what Lovell has told us, it could have been damaged in an explosion, so let's consider that engine dead. We light that thing up, could blow the whole works. It's too risky. We're not gonna take that chance. Now the only thing the command module is good for is re-entry, so that leaves us with the L.E.M., which means free return trajectory. Once we get the guys around the moon, we'll fire up the L.E.M. engine, make a long burn, pick up some speed, get them back as soon as we can.

Alan Glines:
Gene, I'm wondering what the Grumman guys think about this.

Grumman Rep:
We can't make any guarantees. We designed the L.E.M. to land on the moon, not fire the engine out there for course correction.

Gene Kranz:
Well, unfortunately we're not landing on the moon, are we? I don't care what anything was designed to do. I care about what it can do. So let's get to work, let's lay it out, okay?

Gene Kranz:
So you're telling me you can only give our guys 45 hours? [Kranz draws a line on the blackboard halfway between the moon and the Earth] That brings them to about there. Gentlemen, that's not acceptable.

'[the controllers all begin talking at once]

John Aaron:
Whoa, whoa, guys! Power is everything! Power is everything.

Gene Kranz:
What do you mean?

John Aaron:
Without it, they don't talk to us, they don't correct their trajectory, they don't turn the heat shield around... We gotta turn everything off. Now. They're not gonna make it to re-entry.

Gene Kranz:
What do you mean everything?

John Aaron:
With everything on the L.E.M. draws 60 amps. At that rate, in 16 hours the batteries are dead, not 45. And so is the crew. We gotta get them down to 12 amps.

Ray Teague:
Whoa! 12 amps? How many?

MOCR Engineer:
You can't run a vacuum cleaner on 12 amps, John!

John Aaron:
We have to turn off the radars, cabin heater, instrument displays, the guidance computer, the whole smash.

Jerry Bostick:
Whoa! Guidance computer? What... what if they need to do another burn? Gene, they won't even know which way they're pointed.

John Aaron:
The more time we talk down here, the more juice they waste up there. I've been looking at the data for the past hour.

Gene Kranz:
That's the deal?

John Aaron:
That's the deal.

Gene Kranz:
Okay, John. The minute we finish the burn, we'll power down the L.E.M.

John Aaron:
All right. [he leaves the room]

Gene Kranz:
Now, in the meantime, we're gonna have a frozen command module up there. In a couple of days we're gonna have to power it up using nothing but the re-entry batteries.

Glynn Lunney:
It's never been tried before.

Bobby Strimple:
Hell, we've never even simulated it before, Gene.

Gene Kranz:
Well, we're gonna have to figure it out. I want people in our simulators working re-entry scenarios. I want you guys to find every engineer who designed every switch, every circuit, every transistor and every light bulb that's up there, then I want you to talk to the guy in the assembly line who had actually built the thing. Find out how to squeeze every amp out of both of these goddamn machines. I want this mark [draws dotted line from halfway mark to Earth] all the way back to Earth with time to spare. We never lost an American in space, we're sure as hell not gonna lose one on my watch! Failure is not an option!

John Aaron:
You see this ammeter rise over twenty at any point, power-up is no good. We see it spike, that's sayonara for the guidance computer, our guys can't re-enter, okay?

Sim Tech:
How much power do we have to play with?

John Aaron:
Barely enough to run this coffeepot for 9 hours.

Sim Tech 2:
[over headset] John?

John Aaron:
Go.

Sim Tech 2:
Yeah, Ken Mattingly just got here.

John Aaron:
Copy. He's here.

John Young:
They've been losing heat since the accident. They're gonna start getting a lot of water condensation on the control panels.

John Aaron:
Ken. Glad you're here. You know what's going on?

Ken Mattingly:
Uh, John's brought me up speed. What do we have left in the batteries?

John Aaron:
We don't really know.

Ken Mattingly:
We gotta get started on some short cuts for the power-up.

John Aaron:
Yeah. You know how short?

Ken Mattingly:
Well, it's all in the sequencing, John. If we can skip whatever we don't absolutely need, and turn things on in the right order, maybe...

John Aaron:
I agree.

Ken Mattingly:
You started on a procedure?

John Aaron:
Well, the engineers have tried but, I mean, it's your ship, we gotta get you in there.

Ken Mattingly:
Okay. Frank. I need the sim cold and dark. Give me the exact same conditions they've got in there now and I need the present status of every instrument.

Frank:
You got it.

Ken Mattingly:
I need a flashlight. [Frank hands him a regular flashlight] That's not what they have up there. Don't give me anything they don't have onboard.

John Young:
Let's get this show on the road. Put him in space, fellas.

Jack Swigert:
I've been going over the numbers again. Have they called up with a re-entry plan yet? 'Cause we're coming in too shallow.

Jim Lovell:
We're working on something, Jack. Just hold on.

Fred Haise:
I can't remember the ratio temperature; we got no references on board.

Jim Lovell:
Well, let's see if Houston can pull up the MIL-SPECs.

Jack Swigert:
Listen, listen, listen! They gave us too much Delta V, had us burn too long. At this rate, we're gonna skip right off of the atmosphere, and we're never gonna get back!

Fred Haise:
What are you talking about? How'd you figure that?

Jack Swigert:
I can add.

Jim Lovell:
Jack, they've got half the Ph.Ds on the planet working on this.

Fred Haise:
Houston says we're right on the money.

Jack Swigert:
And what if they have made a mistake, all right, and there was no way to reverse it? You think they would tell us? There's no reason for them to tell us.

Fred Haise:
What do you mean they're not gonna tell us? That's bullshit!

Jim Lovell:
All right, there's 1,000 things that have to happen in order, we are on #8. You're taking about #692.

Jack Swigert:
And in the meantime, I'm trying to tell you we're coming in too fast. I think they know it, and I think that's why we don't have a goddamn re-entry plan.

Jim Lovell:
That's duly noted. Thank you, Jack. We agree with that.

Jack Swigert:
[hits his head on the L.E.M. ceiling] OW! God damn this piece of sh*t!

Fred Haise:
Hey! This piece of sh*t's gonna get you home. That's 'cause that's the only thing we got left, Jack!

Jack Swigert:
Now what are you saying, Fred?

Fred Haise:
Well, I think you know what I'm saying.

Jack Swigert:
Now wait a minute. All I did was stir those tanks.

Fred Haise:
What was that gauge reading before you hit the switch?

Jack Swigert:
Hey, don't tell me how to fly the damn C.M.–

Fred Haise:
You don't even know, do you?!

Jack Swigert:
–They brought me in here to do a job, they asked me to stir the damn tanks and I stirred the tanks!

Jim Lovell:
Jack, stop kicking yourself in the ass, all right?

Jack Swigert:
This is not my fault!

Jim Lovell:
No one is saying it is. If I'm in the left-hand seat when the call comes up, I stir the tanks.

Jack Swigert:
Yeah, well, tell him that. [points to Haise]

Fred Haise:
I just asked you what the gauge was reading, and you don't know!

Jim Lovell:
All right, look, we're not doing this, gentlemen, we're not gonna do this. We're not gonna go bouncing off the walls for ten minutes, because we're just gonna end up right back here with the same problems! Try to figure out how to stay alive!

CAPCOM:
Aquarius, this is Houston.

Jim Lovell:
Are we on VOX?!

Fred Haise:
No, we're not on VOX.

Jim Lovell:
[Turns on switch to transmit; calmly] Yeah, Houston, this is Aquarius, go ahead.

CAPCOM:
Yeah, Jim, could you check you check your CO2 gauge for us? [the CO2 warning light blinks on right at that moment]

Jim Lovell:
Yeah, Houston, we were just looking at that. Our CO2 measurement has jumped 4 notches in the last hour.

Fred:
That can't be right. I went over those numbers three times.

CAPCOM:
Jim, that sounds about right. We were expecting that.

Jim Lovell:
Well, that's very comforting to know, Houston. What do we do about it.

CAPCOM:
Jim, we're working on a procedure down here for you. Do you copy?

Fred Haise:
Oh, Christ.

Jim Lovell:
All right, Houston, we're standing by for those procedures.

Fred Haise:
Christ, I know why my numbers are wrong. I only figured it for two people.

[Lovell and Haise look over at Swigert]

Jack Swigert:
Maybe I should just hold my breath.

CAPCOM:
Aquarius, this is Houston.

Jim Lovell:
Houston, Aquarius.

CAPCOM:
Uh, Jim, we've got another course correction for you.

Jack Swigert:
What's up?

Fred Haise:
Something about another course correction.

Jim Lovell:
Uh, We copy, uh, Houston. Be advised, it's gonna take Freddo and I awhile to power up the computer for the, uh, alignment platform if we have to fire the engine.

CAPCOM:
Uh, negative on that, Jim. We can't spare power for the computer.

Fred Haise:
We gotta do this blind?

Jim Lovell:
Houston, without the computer, what do we use for orientation?

Gene Kranz:
Come on, we gotta be able to give these guys something up there.

Bill Fenner:
Without power, we can't give them a reading.

Gene Kranz:
I'm not talking about power, I'm talking about reference.

Bill Strable:
No, no. There's no references. We have a bunch of debris up there...

Jim Lovell:
Houston, what's the story with this burn?

CAPCOM:
We're trying to hash something out down here, Aquarius. Stand by.

Jim Lovell:
Well, now look, Houston, all we need to hold attitude is one fixed point in space. Is that not correct?

CAPCOM:
Yeah, roger that, Jim.

Jim Lovell:
Well, Houston, we've got one. If we can keep the Earth in the window, flying manually, the co-ax crosshairs right on its terminator, all I have to know is how long do we need to burn the engine. [under his breath] The shorter the better.

CAPCOM:
Roger that, Jim.

Glynn Lunney:
Can they fly it manually? And still shut it down on time without the computer?

Gene Kranz:
I guess that's the best we can do, Glynn. We're out of time.


Share your thoughts on Apollo 13's quotes with the community:

2 Comments
  • davidg.21269
    Haise" Shoot I know why my numbers are wrong...I only figured it for two people"
    Swaggert" Well maybe I should just hold my breath?"
    LikeReply 12 years ago
  • J Blair Fishburn
    J Blair Fishburn
    CapCom (to the engineer who's team developed the CO2 scrubber solution): And you, sir, are a steely-eyed missile man!
    LikeReply 14 years ago

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