James Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise weren’t having a very good day on April 13th 1970. The men were 321,860 kilometers from Earth, headed towards the Moon when an oxygen tank on Apollo 13’s Odyssey Service Module blew up. So what did they do? They referred to a few pieces of paper.
Those pages were used to guide the astronauts through the electrical systems power down process which allowed them to save their vessels remaining power so they could rocket towards Earth during their final approach.
According to Gizmodo:
After oxygen tank number two exploded and oxygen tank got damaged, they lost their ability to produce electricity using the service module fuel cells. which combined that oxygen and hydrogen to generate power.
The move worked and Apollo 13 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, with all passengers safe and in good spirits.
Now the papers that saved those men’s lives, including notes from Lovell is going on the auction block on April 13th in Bonhams, New York. [Bonhams]
Here’s one more look at another paper from the trip with notes included: