Surviving a Space Scrape 40 Years Ago
April 11, 2010 11:02 PM   Subscribe

Jerry Woodfill was an engineer with a mission control console at NASA when Apollo 13 became critically endangered by a blown oxygen tank. He shared his views on how the crew survived with Universe Today in a series of posts: 13 Things that Saved Apollo 13 written by Nancy Atkinson.

So far, the intro and two of the thirteen reasons are up, with the rest set to be posted daily. 1. Timing; 2. The Hatch That Wouldn't Close.
posted by jjray (10 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
I'm sensing a thirteen theme here.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:26 AM on April 12, 2010

Baker's Dozen or lagniappe?
posted by infini at 3:52 AM on April 12, 2010

Thank you for posting this. I have watched Apollo 13 at least ten times. My favorite scene which I think about all the time is when the nerds in the backroom get the box of miscellaneous stuff which might be implemented in a conceivable kluge to fix the carbon dioxide filter in the lunar module and the desperate orders to figure out how to get the round peg into the square hole. To me they are as much the heroes of the movie as the three guys up in the capsules. That movie would not be the same without the carbon dioxide filter fix sub plot. I am really looking forward to reading all of these reports.

"church potluck tables" & some of the guys had to read the screens with binoculars.

posted by bukvich at 5:28 AM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

Great find, thanks for posting this.

And shame on you for posting it before it's finished. This clever ploy will get you a favorite bookmark.
posted by anthill at 5:53 AM on April 12, 2010

This clever ploy was to share not just the link, but also the anticipation or regular updates that are bound to be interesting. You can always bookmark Unverse Today in your browser. In fact, I recommend it.
posted by jjray at 7:47 AM on April 12, 2010

bukvich, that's my favorite scene of the movie too! In fact, I've always known I want to work on something space-related, but the story of Apollo 13 is a big reason why I'm in engineering instead of planetary science or aerospace medicine or something else. It'll be neat to get another firsthand perspective on it. Thanks, jjray!
posted by sigmagalator at 8:40 AM on April 12, 2010

Reading through the links, this isn't the only thing Woodfill's done recently; he also found and recreated some of the original lesson plans for Christa McAuliffe's teaching from space. They're all here, including some of the original text and some videos of the McAuliffe practicing the lessons, both on the ground and in zero-g.
posted by Upton O'Good at 9:16 AM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

Putting this back in Recent Activity. The series is now finished, and it's a good read.
posted by lholladay at 7:38 AM on May 7, 2010

Wow, I didn't realize that Mission Ops all got the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Great read.
posted by anthill at 8:01 AM on May 7, 2010

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