Concern for the immediate safety of Apollo 13 Astronauts James Lovell, Fred Haise and John Swigert eased Wednesday (15 April) as the condition of the disabled spacecraft stabilized Tuesday night.
NASH officials Tom Weichel and Milton Windler speaking to newsmen at the Manned Space Centre.
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Background: Concern for the immediate safety of Apollo 13 Astronauts James Lovell, Fred Haise and John Swigert eased Wednesday (15 April) as the condition of the disabled spacecraft stabilized Tuesday night.
The astronauts were reported in good spirits after an evening of rest as the spacecraft continued its emergency return to earth. Speaking at a Wednesday morning News briefing, Re-entry Officer Tom Weichel told newsmen at the Manned Space Center that a third critical course manoeuvre would have to be made to bring the astronauts into the so-called re-entry corridor. To make the course correction, the lunar module rocket engine must again fire successfully, or the manoeuvre will have to be carried out with the small control jets. Should both the rocket engine and jet thrusters fail to work, however, the astronauts would miss the earth by 102-miles. They would shoot off into space with no chance of returning to earth.
Reporting on the status of the crew and spacecraft, flight Director Milton Windler said that there was a more than adequate supply of electrical power, water and oxygen to get the astronauts home. supplies of lithium hydroxide a chemical use to remove carbon dioxide from the cabin atmosphere - was also adequate, Windler reported, but the safety margin was not as great. He added that they were considering two other ways of cleaning the air that would require less use of electrical power.
The astronauts are expected to splashdown north-northwest of new Zealand early Friday afternoon if the planned re-entry course manoeuvre takes place as planned. ??? How far off target the landing will be will depend on how well the guidance system works. NASA officials have no doubts that it will work, but say that power problems in guidance control could bring the spacecraft down as much as 25 miles from the planned target area.