Spaceflight Now: Apollo 13 Retrocast

James Arthur Lovell, Jr. Captain, USN
Retro-posted: April 10, 1970

Portrait of Lovell. Photo: NASA
Born March 25, 1928, in Cleveland, Ohio. His mother, Mrs. Blanche Lovell, resides at Edgewater Beach, Florida.

Physical description
Blond hair, blue eyes; height: 5 feet, 11 inches, weight: 170 pounds.

Graduated from Juneau High School, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; attended the University of Wisconsin for 2 years, then received a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Naval Academy in 1952, presented an Honorary Doctorate from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1969.

Marital Status
Married to the-former Marilyn Gerlach of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Carl Gerlach, are residents of Milwaukee.

Barbara L., October 13, 1953; James A., February 15, 1955, Susan K., July 14, 1958; Jeffrey C., January 14, 1966.

Recreational Interests
His hobbies are golf, swimming, handball, and tennis.

Member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and the Explorers Club.

Special Honors
Awarded-the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, two NASA Exceptional Service Medals, the Navy Astronaut Wings, the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, and two Navy Distinguished Flying Crosses, recipient of the 1967 FAI De Laval and Gold Space Medals (Athens, Greece), the American Academy of Achievement Golden late Award, the City of New York Gold Medal in 1969, the City of Houston Medal for Valor in 1969, the National Geographic Society's Hubbard Medal in 1969, the National Academy Of Television Arts and Sciences Special Trustees Award in 1969, and the Institute of Navigation Award in 1969.

Co-recipient of the American Astronautical Society Flight Achievement Awards in 1966 and 1968, the Harmon International Trophy in 1966 and 1967, the Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy in 1969 the H. H. Arnold Trophy or 1969, the General Thomas D. White USAF Space Trophy for 1968, the Robert J. Collier Trophy for 1968, and the 1969 Henry Bennett Distinguished Service Award.

Lovell, a Navy Captain, received flight training following graduation from Annapolis in 1952.

He has had numerous naval aviator assignments including a 4-year tour as a test pilot at the Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River, Maryland. While there he served as program manager for the F4H weapon system evaluation. A graduate of the Aviation Safety School of the University of Southern California, he also served as a light instructor and safety engineer with Fighter Squadron 101 at the Naval Air Station, Oceana, Virginia.

He has logged more than 4,407 hours flying time--more than 3,000 hours in jet aircraft.

Current Assignment
Captain Lovell was selected as an astronaut by NASA in September 1962. He has since served as backup pilot for the Gemini 4 flight and backup command pilot for the Gemini 9 flight.

On December 4, 1965, he and Command pilot Frank Borman were launched into space on the history-making Gemini 7 mission. The flight lasted 330 hours and 35 minutes, during which the following space firsts were accomplished: longest manned space flight; first rendezvous of two manned maneuverable spacecraft, as Gemini 7 was Joined in orbit by Gemini 6; and longest multi-manned space flight. It was also on this flight that numerous technical and medical experiments were completed successfully.

The Gemini 12 mission, with Lovell and pilot Edwin Aldrin, began on November 11, 1966. This 4-day, 59-revolution flight brought the Gemini Program to a successful close. Major accomplishments of the 94-hour 35-minute flight included a third-revolution rendezvous with the previously launched Agena (using for the first time backup onboard computations due to radar failure); a tethered station keeping exercise; retrieval of a micrometeorite experiment package from the spacecraft exterior; an evaluation of the use of body restraints specially designed for completing work tasks outside of the spacecraft; and completion of numerous photographic experiments, highlights of which are the first pictures taken from space of an eclipse of the sun.

Gemini 12 ended with retrofire at the beginning of the 60th revolution, followed by the second consecutive fully automatic controlled reentry of a spacecraft, and a landing in the Atlantic within 2 1/2 miles of the USS WASP.

As a result of his participation in the Gemini 7 and 12 flights, Lovell logged 425 hours and 10 minutes in space. Aldrin established a new EVA record by completing 5 1/2 hours outside the spacecraft during two standup EVAs and one umbilical EVA.

Lovell served as command module pilot for the epic six day journey of Apollo 8 -- man's maiden voyage to the moon -- December 21-27, 1968. Apollo 8 was the first manned spacecraft to be lifted into near-earth orbit by a 7 1/2-million pound thrust Saturn V launch vehicle, and all events in the flight plan occurred as scheduled with unbelievable accuracy.

A "go" for the translunar injection burn was given midway through the second near-earth orbit, and the restart of the S-IVB third stage to effect this maneuver increased the spacecraft's velocity to place it on an intercept course with the moon. Lovell and fellow crew members, Frank Borman (spacecraft commander) and William A. Anders (lunar module pilot), piloted their spacecraft some 223,000 miles to become the first humans to leave the earth's influence; and upon reaching the moon on December 24, they performed the first critical maneuver to place Apollo 8 into a 60 by 168 nautical miles lunar orbit.

Two revolutions later, the crew executed a second maneuver using the spacecraft's 20,500-pound thrust service module propulsion system to achieve a circular lunar orbit of 60 nautical miles. During their ten revolutions of the moon, the crew conducted live television transmissions of the lunar surface and performed such tasks as landmark and Apollo landing site tracking, vertical stereo photography and stereo navigation photography, and sextant navigation using lunar landmarks and stars. At the end of the tenth lunar orbit, they executed a transearth injection burn which placed Apollo 8 on a proper trajectory for the return to earth.

The final leg of the trip required only 58 hours as compared to the 69 hours used to travel to the moon, and Apollo 8 came to a successful conclusion on December 27, 1968. Splashdown occurred at an estimated 5,000 yards from the USS YORKTOWN, following the successful negotiation of a critical 28-mile high reentry corridor at speeds close to 25,000 miles per hour.

Captain Lovell has since served as the backup spacecraft commander for the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission. He has completed three space flights and holds the U.S. Astronaut record for time in space with a total of 572 hours and 10 minutes.

Special Assignment
In addition to his regular duties as an astronaut, Captain Lovell continues to serve as Special Consultant to the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports -- an assignment he has held since June 1967.

Current Salary
$1,717.28 per month.

Flight Data File
Mission: Apollo 13
Flight crew:
James A. Lovell, Jr.
John L. Swigert, Jr.
Fred W. Haise
Launch vehicle:
Saturn V AS-508
1913 GMT, April 11, 1970
Lunar landing site:
Fra Mauro

Pre-launch briefing
The rocket - A description of the Saturn V launch vehicle.

The launch - A brief story about what should happen during the departure from Earth.

Jack Swigert - Meet the command module pilot.

Fred Haise - Meet the lunar module pilot.

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