Learn about the problems during the Apollo 13 mission.
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Learn About the Apollo 13 Mission Part 2/2 At 55 hours, 53 minutes, and 18 seconds into the mission, Swigert’s words, “Okay, Houston, we have a problem” shattered the cam at the Houston Control Center. Technicians quickly began to assess what they could learn from their telemetry. Oxygen tank number one fans on. Oxygen tank number two, pressure decreases 8 psi. Stabilization control system, electrical disturbance indicates a power transient. Swigert reports hearing a pretty large bang. Oxygen tank number two, pressure decreases - 11.1 amp rise in the fuel cell three. Oxygen tank number two, pressure begins to rise lasting for 24 seconds, 22.9 amp rise fuel cell three. Oygen tank number two, quantity drops in full-scale for two seconds and then read 75.3%. Oxygen tank number two temperature begins to rise rapidly. Flow rate of oxygen to all three fuel cells begins to decrease. Oxygen tank number two pressure reaches maximum value. Tank number two quantity jumps to off-scale high and then begins to drop until telemetry loss indicating fail sensor. All these within one minute of Swigert’s alert to ground control, “Houston, we have a problem”. News agencies begin to break the story and the world becomes aware that Houston has a problem and that a serious malfunction could jeopardize the lunar landing. Back in the mission control center, engineers observe developments aboard Apollo 13. Stabilization control system right changes begin and now the pressure in oxygen tank number one drops. The master caution and warning alarm is triggered but turned off in six seconds. All indications are that a cryogenic oxygen tank number two lost pressure in this time period and the panels separated. Nitrogen pressure in fuel cell one is off-scale low indicating a fail sensor. On the positive side, telemetry is recovered but the service propulsion system engine valve body temperature begins to rise. The total fuel cell current is 15 amps higher than the final value before telemetry loss. High current continues for 19 seconds. Oxygen tank number two pressure reads off-scale low following telemetry recovery indicating a broken supply line or a fail sensor. Oxygen tank number one, pressure begins to drop. Oxygen flow right to fuel cells one and three approach zero after decreasing for seven seconds. The surface temperature of the service module oxidizes a tank and bay three begins to increase as does the service propulsion system Helium tank temperature. The master caution and warning alarm is triggered again by a high hydrogen flow rate to fuel cell two. Back on the grounds, space engineers were desperately trying to determine the exact course of the accident and what effect it would have for the continued flight of the mission. Others were assessing the timeframe open to them as they endeavor to make a practical decision. Aware that of two oxygen tanks, one was displaying zero content and the other was rapidly decreasing. The Apollo 13 crew came to the conclusion that in layman’s words, they were indeed in serious trouble. They were coming to the decision that the only way they could survive was to transfer to the lander, the Luna module. Ground control began to share that view. As the realization dawned that it was a serious of a situation that NASA had ever had to face. The astronauts transferred to the Luna module under instructions to preserve what power they could. The accident had occurred 200,000 miles from earth. Lovell, Swigert, and Haise were now riding in a Luna module attached to a lifeless command module. Apollo 13 had started as a mission of scientific exploration but was now a matter of survival. Since the command module was effectively dead except for the oxygen and power hoarded for reentry, the guidance platform of Aquarius designed to land on and take-off from the moon would have to be brought into play. Crucial to this plan thought was to get a correct alignment with the land platform without knowing exactly which way the altitud
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