(CNN) – The 50th anniversary of the launch of the Apollo 13 mission, called a “successful failure” of the Apollo program, was marked on Saturday.
Although an explosion prevented astronauts James Lovell Jr., John Swigert Jr., and Fred Haise Jr. from participating in the third planned moon landing, NASA engineers and flight control teams at the Apollo Mission Control Center worked with astronauts to safely return them to Earth.
Perhaps you saw the launch on television when it happened on April 11, 1970, or you first learned about the mission by watching the 1995 movie “Apollo 13”.
Regardless, you can now relive the Apollo 13 mission in real time, starting with the launch as it happened at 2:13 p.m. ET on April 11.
NASA software engineer and historian Ben Feist, along with a dedicated team of audio, film, and visual historians, researchers, and experts, have digitized and restored images and audio of the mission.
Everything is organized in the order in which it happened during the mission, from launch to the famous return of the astronauts to Earth.
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Mission control images are linked with a film taken by astronauts during their flight, as well as broadcasts about the mission. Each photo has been inserted when it was taken.
More than 7,200 hours of 50 different channels of Mission Control audio are synced to play while talking.
Newly digitized and restored audio is included, according to the site apolloinrealtime.org.
There were four missing Apollo 13 Mission Control tapes that were recovered from the National Archives in the fall of 2019. They contain audio of the time of the explosion aboard Apollo 13.
After being digitized and restored, it is the first time that recordings have been heard since they were used in the accident investigation in 1970.
The tapes disappeared for a long time because they were saved with the rest of the investigative material from the accident in 1972, according to an article by the coordinator of publishing and social networks at the NASA History Center, Catherine Baldwin. The article appeared in the latest issue of NASA’s Newsletter and Notes on History.
The intriguing audio captures the range of emotions and the magnitude of stress experienced by astronauts and teams on the ground as they worked together to safely return the three men. It is a race against time for five days, 22 hours and 54 minutes.
At the beginning of the mission, there are jokes and fun humanizing exchanges. After the success of the Apollo 11 mission in 1969, certain aspects of space flight began to feel routine and are palpable in the crew.
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Everything takes a drastic change when the explosion occurs on April 13, 1970. The tension and long pauses as they search for words mark the exchanges between the astronauts and Mission Control.
Historical moments stand out, like Lovell’s famous words from “Houston, we’ve had a problem” or Haise saying, “I didn’t think I’d be back here so soon” when he and Lovell entered the lunar module after the explosion, preparing to use it as a “lifeboat”.
The Apollo 13 project joins two others at the Feist site, a NASA-funded project that includes real-time scans of the Apollo 11 and Apollo 17 missions.
Feist also performed an audio restoration for the documentary “Apollo 11,” directed by Todd Douglas Miller, which aired on CNN in 2019 for the mission’s 50th anniversary.