Apollo 13

Trivia: The Apollo 13 mission set a record for the greatest distance from Earth ever achieved by mankind. This occurred because unlike the other Apollos, Apollo 13 did not make a burn behind the moon to drop into lunar orbit. The free-return trajectory the mission followed took the spacecraft farther behind the moon than any other mission.

Trivia: The exchange between Lovell and his wife about holidays ("you know that Easter vacation? There's been a change of destination ... how about the moon?") in fact took place in 1968, when Lovell was assigned to Apollo 8 and so missed his planned Christmas vacation.

Trivia: In an interview, Ron Howard revealed that, after a test screening, he was concerned about an audience reaction card that rated the film as "terrible" until he read a comment on the card dismissing the ending as "more Hollywood b*llsh*t", saying that had it happened in real life, the astronauts "would never have survived".


Trivia: When Bill Paxton vomits they used Beef-a-Roni stew for the vomit. Since they only had to use a spoonful for each take, they had half a can left at the end of the day. After losing a bet with Tom Hanks, Bill had to then eat the rest of the can. Bill Paxton confirmed this personally at an autograph signing.

Trivia: Marilyn Lovell did lose her wedding ring in the shower before hubby had his "problem." Check the audio commentary on the DVD. It wasn't added to the movie for dramatic effect. The ring, however, was recovered.

Trivia: Thomas K. Mattingly (played by Gary Sinise), is bald (as opposed to Gary's full head of hair), and about 8 inches taller than the actor. Adm. Mattingly also speaks with a Texas accent.


Trivia: Many people have claimed that Lovell's LEVA (Lunar Extra-Vehicular Visor Assembly) is incorrect because it shows a Navy Anchor and "No LEVA had that." Interestingly enough, Jim Lovell's flown LEVA had a blue box containing the Navy Insignia, a custom made helmet and the only one of its kind in the entire program. NASA has a photo of it on their Apollo Lunar Surface Journal which can be viewed here: http://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/a13/a13LovellVisor.jpg.

Trivia: The Apollo 13 mission has a lot to do with the number 13. It's called Apollo 13, it took off at 02:13 Houston time from complex 39A (which is 3 x 13), the launch date was 11 April 1970 (4+1+1+7+0 = 13), and the problem occurred 2 days later, on April 13.


Trivia: To make the effect of the actors in space they flew in NASA's KC-135 aircraft which simulated the weightlessness in space. All of the scenes where you can see the whole body of the actors are in the aircraft, and when it's only a part of the actor's body it's on ground.

Trivia: Jack Swigert actually said "Houston, we've had a problem." It was changed in the film to "we have a problem" so the audience would know it was an ongoing problem and the crew were still in danger, also for Tom Hanks to deliver the line.


Trivia: During the broadcast, Fred starts playing the song "Spirit in the Sky," and Jim mentions it should have been the theme from "2001." In real life, the crew actually did play the theme from "2001." In this case, the film was joking about altering history for artistic purposes.


Trivia: The EECOM Arthur is actually John Aaron, who was from Gerald Griffin's team of controllers. There is no such thing as EECOM Arthur. He was instrumental in saving both Apollo 12 and Apollo 13.

Trivia: Ron Howard's brother Clint is cast in this movie. He plays the flight controller White Team Electrical, Environmental and Consumables Manager (EECOM) Sy Liebergot.

Factual error: When Lovell's daughter is complaining that the Beatles have broken up, she slams the album Let It Be into her rack. The scene takes place on the day of the initial explosion aboard Apollo 13, April 13 1970 - immediately prior to the Lovell family attending the screening of a television broadcast from the spacecraft. Let It Be was not released as an album until May 9th, 1970. In April Ringo was still recording drum tracks, not even possible for an advance copy to get out.

More mistakes in Apollo 13

Fred Haise: It hurts when I urinate.
Jim Lovell: Well, you're not getting enough water.
Fred Haise: No, I'm drinkin' my rations, same as you... I think old Swigert gave me the clap. Been pissin' in my relief tube.
Jim Lovell: Well, that'd be a hot one at the debriefing for the flight surgeons... Another first for America's spacemen.

More quotes from Apollo 13

Question: Why did the Apollo 13 spacecraft need a parachute? They were landing on water not solid ground. It's easier to survive a fall when landing on water, so why would they need a parachute if they were landing on water?

Answer: Spacecraft re-enter Earth's atmosphere at extremely high velocity (thousands of miles per hour). Atmospheric friction slows the spacecraft descent somewhat; but, without parachutes, the Apollo spacecraft would still reach the surface traveling at hundreds of miles per hour. Landing in water at such high speed would be like hitting concrete, which would of course be instantly fatal. Hence the necessity of multiple parachutes. The Apollo program (and all early U.S. manned space programs) chose to land in the ocean for two reasons: 1) It was easier to track spacecraft re-entry from horizon-to-horizon at sea without visual and radar obstacles, and; 2) It was faster and easier to position several Navy vessels in the general splashdown location, then deploy helicopters to rapidly retrieve the astronauts and their spacecraft.

Charles Austin Miller

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