Apollo 13 Engineers Get Recognition

    April 21, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

Whether you were around for the original Apollo 13 mission, or have only seen the thrilling Tom Hanks movie of the same name, you remember the engineers’ role in saving the astronauts.

35 years have passed since a series of disasters nearly claimed the lives of Apollo 13 astronauts Jim Lovell, Fred Haise, and Jack Swigert. When the astronauts called home to report “Houston, we have a problem,” Earth-bound engineers had to find a way to preserve the mission’s remaining oxygen supply and get NASA’s men home safely. The engineers did so, with a cobbled-together solution for filtering carbon dioxide from Apollo 13; duct tape figured prominently in the design.

Former NASA crew systems division head Jim Smylie didn’t know if the astronauts had duct tape with them; fortunately they did. Said Smylie at a recent event recognizing the mission, “I felt like we were home free,” he said. “One thing a Southern boy will never say is, ‘I don’t think duct tape will fix it.'”

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.