March 25, 1928 – Astronaut James “Jim” Lovell is born
Jim Lovell (James Arthur Lovell, Jr.) was born in Cleveland, Ohio, March 25, 1928. Lovell’s first spaceflight was aboard Gemini 7 (December 4-18 1965), spending two weeks in space. Gemini 7 also performed the first space rendevouz with Gemini 6A. Lovell made his second spacefaring trip aboard Gemini 12 as commander in November 1966 (Nov 11-15). Thee two Gemini missions qualified Lovell to be the human to have spent the most time into space at the time.
His first Apollo mission was aboard Apollo 8 in December 1968 (Dec 21-27). The crew (Borman, Anders and Lovell) became the first humans to orbit the Moon.
Originally scheduled to command Apollo 14, Lovell’s crew was bumped up to Apollo 13. This famous mission, launched on April 11, 1970 with fellow crew members Fred Haise and Jack Swigert aboard, almost became a tragic footnote in United States spaceflight history when an oxygen tank exploded on April 13th while the spacecraft was on the way to the Moon. Lovell announced to Houston mission control, “Houston, we’ve had a problem.” The story of how NASA ad Lovell’s crew successfully brought the module home safely is powerfully told in the popular film Apollo 13.
Lovell’s version of the Apollo 13 near-tragic mission is told in his book, Lost Moon. He would never step foot on to the Moon personally though he was one of the most experienced spacefarers in the 1960s and 1970s.