Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13

Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13

by Jim A. Lovell, Jeffrey Kluger
     
 

In April 1970, during the glory days of the Apollo space program, NASA sent Navy Captain Jim Lovell and two other astronauts on America's fifth mission to the moon. Only fifty-five hours into the flight of Apollo 13, disaster struck: a mysterious explosion rocked the ship, and soon its oxygen and power began draining away. Commander Lovell and his crew watched in…  See more details below

Overview

In April 1970, during the glory days of the Apollo space program, NASA sent Navy Captain Jim Lovell and two other astronauts on America's fifth mission to the moon. Only fifty-five hours into the flight of Apollo 13, disaster struck: a mysterious explosion rocked the ship, and soon its oxygen and power began draining away. Commander Lovell and his crew watched in alarm as the cockpit grew darker, the air grew thinner, and the instruments winked out one by one. The full story of the moon shot that almost ended in catastrophe has never been told, but now Lovell and coauthor Jeffrey Kluger bring it to vivd life. What begins as a smooth flight is transformed into a hair-raising voyage from the moment Lovell calls out, "Houston, we've got a problem." Minutes after the explosion, the astronauts are forced to abandon the main ship for the lunar module, a tiny craft designed to keep two men alive for just two days. But there are three men aboard, and they are four days from home. As the hours tick away, the narrative shifts from the crippled spacecraft to Mission Control, from engineers searching desperately for solutions to Lovell's wife and children praying for his safe return. The entire nation watches as one crisis after another is met and overcome. By the time the ship splashes down in the Pacific, we understand why the heroic effort to rescue Lovell and his crew is considered by many to be NASA's finest hour. This riveting book puts the reader right in the spacecraft during one of the worst disasters in the history of space exploration. Written with all the color and drama of the best fiction, Lost Moon is the true story of a thrilling adventure and an astonishing triumph over nearlyimpossible odds. It was a major Oscar(R)-nominated motion picture directed by Ron Howard and starred Tom Hanks and Kevin Bacon.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Astronaut Lovell and Kluger, a contributing editor at Discover magazine, take us on the terrifying voyage of unlucky Apollo 13. Launched in April 1970 and manned by Lovell, Jack Swigert and Jack Haise, Apollo 13 was scheduled to orbit the moon while Lovell and Haise descended to its surface. En route, though, a cyogenic tank exploded, causing a loss of oxygen and power in the command module. Luckily, the LEM, the lunar module that was to land on the moon, was uninjured and the astronauts could survive briefly on its oxygen. What unfolds is a story of courage as the astronauts and the personnel at Mission Control in Houston labored to return the spacecraft to Earth. First, there was the crucial alignment to ascertain the position of the spacecraft. Then came the all-important ``burn'' to swing the spacecraft around the moon on a ``free return'' trajectory back to earth. And finally there was the important PC+2 burn to guide the ship to the South Pacific, making sure it would enter Earth's atmosphere precisely-if done wrong the craft would either incinerate or skip into orbit around the sun. Everything went perfectly and Apollo 13 splashed down in the Pacific. This is a gripping and frightening book that commands rapt attention. Photos not seen by PW. Author tour. (Oct.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
The lunar landing mission of Apollo 13, commanded by veteran astronaut Lovell, was to be the crowning accomplishment of his NASA career. However, little more than two days into the flight, an oxygen tank exploded, crippling the service module's electrical system and forcing the crew to abandon their mother ship and use the lunar module as a lifeboat. Lovell and Kluger's account of Mission Control's heroic efforts to figure out a way to bring the crew home safely and the astronauts' race against time in a freezing spacecraft provide the core of this gripping narrative. Shifting from the engineers' struggles in Houston to contractors' efforts across the country to the concerns of the astronauts' families, this work fleshes out Apollo 13's story more fully than earlier accounts (Henry Cooper's Thirteen: The Flight That Failed, LJ 3/15/73) and adds to the growing body of firsthand astronaut accounts of their pioneering flights. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/94.]-Thomas J. Frieling, Bainbridge Coll., Ga.
Donna Seaman
Even though Lovell was the commanding officer of "Apollo 13" and therefore at the very heart of these galvanizing events, he and coauthor Kluger of "Discover" magazine felt that the "omniscient sweep" of a third-person voice was essential to the telling of this unparalleled story. And they were right. The facts are these: On April 11, 1970, Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise began their journey to the moon. Two days later, when "Apollo 13" was 200,000 miles from home and five sixths of the way to its inhospitable destination, an oxygen tank exploded and the crew was placed in unprecedented danger. So many things could have killed the crew, from lack of oxygen and water to the complete breakdown of communication and navigation systems. If any one of those catastrophes had occurred, the three men would have been condemned to an eternity of orbiting the earth and her pale sister entombed in the craft that failed them. Instead, ingenuity and sheer luck prevailed. Lovell and Kluger document every white-knuckle phase of this near disaster, balancing fascinating technological detail with more, pardon the pun, down-to-earth concerns, such as how Marilyn Lovell kept her composure during the seemingly endless ordeal. It's no wonder that director Ron Howard and Oscar-winner Tom Hanks have made a movie based on this book: you'd be hard-pressed to find a more compelling and unique drama.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780395670293
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
09/06/1994
Pages:
378
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.21(h) x 1.27(d)

Meet the Author

JEFFREY KLUGER has written for various publications, including Discover, the New York Times Magazine, GQ, and the Wall Street Journal. He is also the author of Journey Beyond Selene.

Jim Lovell joined NASA in 1962 and flew a total of four missions before retiring in 1973. After Apollo 8, America's first mission to the moon, he and his two crew members were named TIME's Men of the Year. He continues to lecture across the country, speaking about space exploration.

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