Apollo 13 - 'Houston, we've had a problem'

The true story of the ill-fated 13th Apollo mission, bound for the moon.

NASA had already achieved President Kennedy’s challenge of the United States going to the moon within ten years and the crew of Apollo 11 had achieved their lunar landing triumphantly, in one of the greatest moments of the 20th Century.

It was April 11th 1970 at 14.13 hrs, when astronauts Jim Lovell, Fred Haise and Jack Swigert. lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Apollo 13 . It had been less than a year since man first walked on the Moon, but as far as the American public was concerned, Apollo 13 was just another “routine” space flight.

56 hours into the mission, Jim Lovell had just completed a live TV broadcast back to Earth, when a loud bang was heard on the spacecraft.  As the command modules automatic booster rockets steadied the spacecraft, an unforgettable transmission, penetrating the vast emptiness of space, was heard back on earth “Houston, we’ve got a problem.”

Stranded over 200,000 miles from Earth in a crippled spacecraft, astronauts Lovell, Haise and Swigert, on course towards the moon, were now struggling in a desperate battle to survive. One oxygen tank was empty, the other was leaking fast and very soon there would be no electrical power. The prospects of Apollo 13 and the astronaut’s safe return begins to fade and the world holds it’s breath.

Meanwhile, at Mission Control in Houston, astronaut Ken Mattingly and Flight Director Gene Kranz and the ground crew race against time to find a way to bring them home.

This is the spellbinding account of that mission, told by the astronauts and mission control ground crew; along with live on-board cameras, recording the suspense of this real-life thrilling drama as it unfurled, on both Apollo 13 and at Mission Control.

Featured accounts from the astronauts

James A. Lovell, Jr., Commander

John L. Swigert, Jr, Command Module Pilot

Fred W. Haise, Jr, Lunar Module Pilot