On this day in 1970, Apollo 13 returned to earth. In some ways space travel had become common place, yet, this experience galvanized Americans around the concern for three brave astronauts and the ground crew that supported them. Most of us know a great deal about these brave Americans from the movie directed by Ron Howard by the same name as the flight.
Apollo 13 was the seventh manned mission in the Apollo space program and the third intended to land on the Moon. The craft was launched on April 11, 1970 but the lunar landing was aborted after an oxygen tank exploded two days into the flight, The explosion crippled the service module which serviced the mission to the moon. In spite of incredible hardship – limited power, loss of heat, shortage of clean water, and creativity needed to create a solution to solve the carbon dioxide removal system, the crew returned safely to earth on this day in 1970.
The flight was commanded by James A. Lovell, John L. “Jack” Swigert was the Command Module pilot, and Fred W. Haiseas was the Lunar Module pilot. Today for some reason our brave astronauts have to fly in Russian spacecraft because the United States does not have anything that will take them into space. Why? I suppose we just abdicate leadership in space because we lack desire.
Here is to those who have the spirit and God given gifts to venture where no one has gone before. The Psalms declare, “The heavens declare the glory of God.” Former astronaut, John Glenn put it this way as he observed the heavens and earth from the windows of a space flight on the shuttle Discovery: “To look out at this kind of creation and not believe in God is to me impossible. It just strengthens my faith.”
Here is to faith and ingenuity and the hope that we wont give up on the desire to explore and innovate. Most of all it is my prayer that we will continue to trust that God has made us stewards of the creation.