April 17, 1970

Astronauts are home

At 1:08 p.m. EST, the command module Odyssey splashed down in the Pacific Ocean just 4 miles from the rescue ship USS Iwo Jima.
To prepare for the return, earlier in the day the astronauts James Lovell, Fred Haise and John Swigert left the lunar module, Aquarius, and tested the module. Lovell commented that once they did that, they finally saw the damage caused by the explosion. He said, “There’s one whole side of that spacecraft missing. It’s really a mess.” Mission Control added, “Farewell Aquarius and we thank you.”
From that point, the trio were ready for their return. At some point with their reentry into the Earth atmosphere, it was reported their speed was over 24,000 miles per hour. The atmosphere and three large parachutes helped to slow the ship down to 22 miles per hour when it finally hit the waters of the Pacific.

Hundreds of shoppers and the curious filled the television display area of the Globe Store to witness the moment the astronauts of Apollo 13 — Lovell, Haise and Swigert — were back on planet Earth. Across the street at Scranton Dry Goods, store employees set up televisions throughout the store so shoppers and employees could witness the historic moment.


Apollo 13 Editorial Cartoon by Lew Harsh. Times-Tribune Archives

Those watching the moment shared their feelings with a Scranton Times reporter. Here are a few of those thoughts:
% “That was wonderful. The best news I’ve ever heard. I got there just in time to see it,” said Andrew Brooks of Taylor.
% “It was a most amazing feat. I hope they never have to duplicate it,” said Dante Inzillo of Scranton.
% “I’m really thrilled they made it. I’m sorry they couldn’t have landed on the moon but their lives are more important than anything else,” said Mrs. David Parry of Scranton.

Related Material – 

Apollo 13 In Real Time – a website that uses data, images, sound and video to recreate the mission – https://apolloinrealtime.org/13/

Apollo 13 video collection – collection of videos dealing with the mission – https://archive.org/details/jsc-pao-video-collection?and[]=Apollo+13+Resource+Reel&sin=&sort=-publicdate

Houston We Have A Podcast – a collection of Apollo related podcasts from the Johnson Space Center – https://www.nasa.gov/johnson/HWHAP/apollo50th

Apollo 13 Images of the Moon in 4k – https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/13537

Old Forge Native looks back on mission control job during moon landing – Caitlin Heaney West – July 15, 2019

To The Moon and Chappaquiddick – Episode One of the Historically Hip podcast featuring Brian Fulton and Caitlin Heaney West – July 11, 2019