“Okay, we’ve had a problem” the pilot of the command module “Odyssey” Jack Swigert radioed to the ground station with hardly surpassable coolness. Commander James Lovell confirms this with the legendary words, “Houston, we’ve had a problem.”
Astronauts Jim Lovell, Fred Haise and Jack Swigert are already more than 300,000 kilometres away from Earth when an explosion ruptures one of the Apollo spacecraft’s oxygen tanks. Not a “problem”, but an impending or rather already occurred catastrophe. The spacecraft races away from Earth on a trajectory that puts it in a safe orbit around the moon. Once in orbit, the spacecraft would have become the tomb of the three men. Imagine a memento for eternity. The damaged Apollo 13 “Odyssey” orbits our satellite as a steel grave of three men forever and ever.
In our film “The greatest adventure of mankind” Ulrich Walter describes the situation.