From now on, we live in a world where man has walked on the moon. And it's not a miracle, we just decided to go. On Apollo 8, we were so close. Just 60 nautical miles down, and it was as if I could just step out, and walk on the face of it.
In real life, the quote was "Houston, we've had a problem." Apollo Expeditions to the Moon, ch. 13.1, by James A. Lovell. The original phrase pronounced by Jack Swigert, "Houston, we've had a problem here" and then repeated by Lovell, "Houston, we've had a problem", was altered to a present-tense in the film script.
Gentlemen, it's been a privilege flying with you.
[narrating] Our mission was called "a successful failure," in that we returned safely but never made it to the Moon. In the following months, it was determined that a damaged coil built inside the oxygen tank sparked during our cryo stir and caused the explosion that crippled the Odyssey. It was a minor defect that occurred two years before I was even named the flight's commander. Fred Haise was going back to the moon on Apollo 18, but his mission was canceled because of budget cuts; he never flew in space again. Nor did Jack Swigert, who left the astronaut corps and was elected to Congress from the state of Colorado. But he died of cancer before he was able to take office. Ken Mattingly orbited the moon as Command Module Pilot of Apollo 16, and flew the Space Shuttle, having never gotten the measles. Gene Kranz retired as Director of Flight Operations just not long ago. And many other members of Mission Control have gone on to other things, but some are still there. As for me, the seven extraordinary days of Apollo 13 were my last in space. I watched other men walk on the Moon, and return safely, all from the confines of Mission Control and our house in Houston. I sometimes catch myself looking up at the Moon, remembering the changes of fortune in our long voyage, thinking of the thousands of people who worked to bring the three of us home. I look up at the Moon and wonder, when will we be going back, and who will that be?
Houston, we are venting something out into space. I can see it outside window 1 right now, it's definetely a gas of some sort, it's got to be the oxygen.
If this doesn't work, we're not gonna have enough power left to get home.
[on TV] When you go into the shadow of the moon and and the moon is between you and the sun, you see stars that are more brilliant than anything you've ever seen on the clearest nights here on Earth. And then you pass into the lunar sunrise over the lunar surface. It must be an awe-inspiring sight. I can't wait to see it myself.
[While flipping an electric switch on a panel full of condensation] It's like trying to drive a toaster through a car wash.
Jim Lovell: The astronaut is only the most visible member of a very large team, and all of us, right down to the guys sweeping the floor are honored to be a part of it. What did the man say? - "Give me a lever long enough and I'll move the world". Well that's exactly what we're doing here. This is divine inspiration, folks. It's the best part of each one of us that anything is possible. Things like a computer that can fit into a single room a hold millions of pieces of information. Or the Saturn V rocket. Now, this is the actual launch vehicle that will be taking Alan Shepard and his crew on the first leg of the Apollo 13 mission.
Congressman: When are you going up again, Jim?
Jim Lovell: I'm slated to be the commander of Apollo 14 sometime late next year.
Congressman: If there is an Apollo 14. Now, Jim, people in my state are asking why we're continuing to fund this program now that we've beaten the Russians to the moon.
Jim Lovell: Imagine if Christopher Columbus came back from the New World, and no one returned in his footsteps.
Jeffrey Lovell: Dad, did you know the astronauts in the fire?
Jim Lovell: Yeah, I knew the astronauts in the fire. All of them.
Jeffrey Lovell: Could that happen again?
Jim Lovell: Well, I'll tell you something about that fire. A lot of things went wrong. The, uh, the door, it's called the hatch. They couldn't get it open when they needed to get out, that was one thing. And, uh... well, a lot of things went wrong in that fire.
Jeffrey Lovell: Did they fix it?
Jim Lovell: Oh, yes, absolutely. We fixed it. It's not a problem anymore.
Reporter: So, the number 13 doesn't bother you?
Fred Haise: Only if it's a Friday, Phil.
Reporter: Apollo 13, lifting of at thirteen hundred hours and thirteen minutes, and entering the Moon's gravity on April 13th.
Jim Lovell: Ken Mattingly's been doing some scientific research regarding that very phenomenon, haven't you, Ken?
Ken Mattingly: Uh, yes, well, I had a black cat walk over a broken mirror under the lunar module ladder. It didn't seem to be a problem.
Fred Haise: We're also considering a letter from a fella who said we oughta take a pig up with us for good luck.
Reporter: Does it bother you that the public regards this flight as routine?
Jim Lovell: There's nothing routine about flying to the moon. I can vouch for that. And, uh, I think that an astronaut's last mission, his final flight, that's always going to be very special.
Reporter: Why is this your last, Jim?
Jim Lovell: I'm in command of the best ship with the best crew that anybody could ask for, and I'll be walking in a place where there's 400 degrees difference between sunlight and shadow. I can't imagine, uh, ever topping that.
Jim Lovell: You want to break up my crew two days before the launch, when we can predict each others' moves, we can read the tone of each others' voices?
Dr. Chuck: Ken Mattingly will be getting seriously ill, precisely when you and Haise will be ascending from the lunar surface to rendezvous with him.
Deke Slayton: Jim, that's a lousy time for a fever.
Jim Lovell: All right, now look, Jack Swigert has been out of the loop for weeks.
NASA Director: He's fully qualified to fly this mission.
Jim Lovell: He's a fine pilot, but when was the last time he was in a simulator?
NASA Director: I'm sorry, Jim, I understand how you feel. Now we can do one of two things here. We can either scrub Mattingly and go with Swigert, or we can bump all three of you to a later mission.
Jim Lovell: I've trained for the Fra Mauro highlands, and this is flight surgeon horseshit, Deke!
Deke Slayton: Jim, if you hold out for Ken, you will not be on Apollo 13. It's your decision.
Mary Haise: Oh boy, hope I can sleep.
Fred Haise, Jr.: Mom, that was loud!
Mary Haise: Here, hold my hand. [to Marilyn] I can't believe you did this four times.
Marilyn Lovell: The worst part's over.
Mary Haise: It is?
Marilyn Lovell: Listen, this doesn't stop for me until he lands on that aircraft carrier.
Mary Haise: Oh, you just look so calm about it.
Marilyn Lovell: Well, if the flight surgeon had to okay me for this mission, I'd be grounded.
Reporter 1: Mrs. Lovell! Mrs. Haise!
Reporter 2: Can we speak to you? Can we just have a word with you, please?
Marilyn Lovell: Remember, you're proud, happy, and thrilled.
Reporter 1: How are you feeling?
Mary Haise: Well, we're very proud, very happy, and we're thrilled.
Jim Lovell: Well, between Jack's back taxes and the Fred Haise Show, I'd say that was a pretty successful broadcast.
CAPCOM: That was an excellent show, Odyssey.
Jack Swigert: Thank you very much, Houston.
CAPCOM: We've a couple of housekeeping procedures for you. We'd like you to roll right to 0-6-0 and null your rates.
Jack Swigert: Roger that. Rolling right, 0-6-0.
CAPCOM: And then if you could give your oxygen tanks a stir.
Jack Swigert: Roger that. [flips switches]
Jack Swigert: Hey, we've got a problem here.
Jim Lovell: What did you do?
Jack Swigert: Nothing. I stirred the tanks.
CAPCOM: Uh, this is Houston. Say again, please?
Jim Lovell: Houston, we have a problem.
Seymour Liebergot: Flight?
Gene Kranz: Yeah, go, EECOM.
Seymour Liebergot: Um, Flight, I recommend we, uh, shut down the reactant valves of the fuel cells.
Gene Kranz: What the hell good is that gonna do?
Seymour Liebergot: If that's where the leak is, we can isolate it. We can isolate it there and we can save what's left in the tanks and we can run on the good cell.
Gene Kranz: You close them, you can't open them again. You can't land on the moon with one healthy fuel cell.
Seymour Lieborgot: Gene, the Odyssey is dying. From my chair here, this is the last option.
Gene Kranz: Yeah, yeah, yeah, okay, Sy. CAPCOM, let's have them close the reactant valves.
CAPCOM: Thirteen, this is Houston. Uh, we want you to close react valves on cells one and three. Do you copy?
Jim Lovell: Are you saying you want the whole smash? Closing down the react valves for fuel cells shutdown? Shutting down the fuel cells, did I hear you right?
Gene Kranz: Yeah, they heard me right. Tell them we think that's the only way they can stop the leak.
CAPCOM: Yeah, Jim, we think that closing the react valves may stop the leak.
Gene Kranz: Did he copy that?
CAPCOM: Do you copy, Jim.
Jim Lovell: Yes, Houston, we copy. We just lost the moon.
Jim Lovell: Freddo, how long does it take to power up the L.E.M.?
Fred Haise: Three hours by the checklist.
Jim Lovell: We don't have that much time.
Jeffrey Lovell: Why are there so many people here?
Marilyn Lovell: Oh. Well, you know, your dad's flying his mission.
Jeffrey Lovell: He said he was going to get me a moon rock.
Marilyn Lovell: Well, something broke on your daddy's spaceship, and he's going to turn around before he even gets to the the moon.
Jeffrey Lovell: (meekly) Was it the door?
Gene Kranz: Okay, people! Listen up! I want you all to forget the flight plan. From this moment on, we are improvising a new mission. [Kranz turns on an overheard projector and the bulb burns out] How do we get our people home? [drawing with chalk on blackboard] They are here. We turn them around? Straight back? Direct abort?
Bobby Spencer: Yes! Gene...
MOCR Engineer: No, we can't do that...
Jerry Bostick: No, Sir. No, Sir. We get them on a free return trajectory. It's the option with the fewest question marks for safety.
Gene Kranz: I agree with Jerry. We use the moon's gravity to slingshot them around.
Bobby Spencer: No! The L.E.M. will not support three guys for that amount of time!
Larry Strimple: It barely holds two.
Bobby Spencer: I mean, we have got to do a direct abort. We do an about face, we bring the guys right home right now.
Larry Strimple: Get them back soon, absolutely.
Jerry Bostick: We don't even know if the Odyssey's engine's even working, and if there's been serious damage to this spacecraft...
Ray Teague: They blow up and they die.
Bobby Spencer: That is not the argument! We are talking about time!
Ray Teague: Oh, come on! I'm not going to sugarcoat this for you!
Gene Kranz: Let's hold it. Let's hold it down. Let's hold it down, people. The only engine we've got with enough power for a direct abort is the S.P.S. on the service module. From what Lovell has told us, it could have been damaged in an explosion, so let's consider that engine dead. We light that thing up, could blow the whole works. It's too risky. We're not gonna take that chance. Now the only thing the command module is good for is reentry, so that leaves us with the L.E.M., which means free return trajectory. Once we get the guys around the moon, we'll fire up the L.E.M. engine, make a long burn, pick up some speed, get them back as soon as we can.
Bobby Spencer: Gene, I'm wondering what the Grumman guys think about this.
Grumman Rep: We can't make any guarantees. We designed the L.E.M. to land on the moon, not fire the engine out there for course correction.
Gene Kranz: Well, unfortunately we're not landing on the moon, are we? I don't care what anything was designed to do. I care about what it can do. So let's get to work, let's lay it out, okay?
NASA Director: He specifically wanted a quote from a flight director.
Gene Kranz: Who wanted a quote?
Glynn Lunney: The President.
Gene Kranz: The President?
Deke Slayton: Nixon. He wants odds.
Gene Kranz: We are not losing the crew.
NASA Director: Gene, I gotta give him odds. Five to one against? Three to one?
Glynn Lunney: I don't think they're that good.
Gene Kranz: We are not losing those men!
Deke Slayton: [to Kraft] Look, tell him three to one.
CAPCOM: Thirteen, this is Houston. We're reading your telemetry. It's good to see you again.
Fred Haise: Good to see you too, Houston.
CAPCOM: We are picking you up at a velocity of 7,062 feet per second, at a distance from the moon of 56 nautical miles. Stand by for your PC+2 burn data.
Fred Haise: Got to tell you, I had an itch to take this baby down though. Do some prospecting. Damn, we were close.
Jim Lovell: Gentlemen... what are your intentions? [Haise and Swigert look over at him] I'd like to go home. We've got a burn coming up. We're gonna need a contingency if we lose comm with Houston. Freddo, let's get an idea where we stand on the consumables. Jack, get up into the Odyssey and bag up all the water you can before it freezes in there. Let's go home.
Clint Burton: Gene, we have a situation brewing with the carbon dioxide.
Bill Peters: We have a CO2 filter problem in the lunar module.
Clint Burton: Five filters on the L.E.M.
Bill Peters: Which were meant for two guys for a day and a half.
Clint Burton: That's what I told the Doc.
Dr. Chuck: They're already up to eight on the gauges. Anything over fifteen, and you get impaired judgement, blackouts, the beginnings of brain asphyxia.
Gene Kranz: What about the scrubbers on the command module?
Clint Burton: They take square cartridges.
Bill Peters: The ones on the L.E.M. are round.
Gene Kranz:[Sighs in irritation] Tell me this isn't a government operation.
Clint Burton: This just isn't a contingency we've remotely looked at.
Dr. Chuck: Those CO2 levels are going to be getting toxic.
Gene Kranz: Well, I suggest you gentlemen invent a way to put a square peg in a round hole. Rapidly.
Henry Hurt: I, uh, I have a request from the news people.
Marilyn Lovell: Uh-huh?
Henry Hurt: They're out front here. They want to put a transmitter up on the lawn.
Marilyn Lovell: Transmitter?
Henry Hurt: Kind of a tower, for live broadcast.
Marilyn Lovell: I thought they didn't care about this mission. They didn't even run Jim's show.
Henry Hurt: Well, it's more dramatic now. Suddenly people are...
Marilyn Lovell: Landing on the moon wasn't dramatic enough for them - why should not landing on it be?
Henry Hurt: Look, I, um, I realize how hard this is, Marilyn, but the whole world is caught up in this, it's historic-...
Marilyn Lovell: No, Henry! Those people don't put one piece of equipment on my lawn. If they have a problem with that, they can take it up with my husband. He'll be home... on Friday!
Jack Swigert: I've been going over the numbers again. Have they called up with a re-entry plan yet? 'Cause we're coming in too shallow.
Jim Lovell: We're working on something, Jack. Just hold on.
Fred Haise: I can't remember the ratio temperature; we got no references on board.
Jim Lovell: Well, let's see if Houston can pull up the MIL-SPECs.
Jack Swigert: Listen, listen, listen! They gave us too much Delta V, had us burn too long. At this this rate, we're gonna skip right off of the atmosphere, and we're never gonna get back!
Fred Haise: What are you talking about? How'd you figure that?
Jack Swigert: I can add.
Jim Lovell: Jack, they've got half the Ph.Ds on the planet working on this.
Fred Haise: Houston says we're right on the money.
Jack Swigert: And what if they have made a mistake, all right? And there was no way to reverse it? You think they would tell us? There's no reason for them to tell us.
Fred Haise: What do you mean they're not gonna tell us? That's bullshit!
Jim Lovell: All right, there's a thousand things that have to happen in order, we are on number eight. You're taking about number 692.
Jack Swigert: And in the meantime, I'm trying to tell you we're coming in too fast. I think they know it, and I think that's why we don't have a goddamn re-entry plan.
Jim Lovell: That's duly noted. Thank you, Jack. We agree with that.
[Jack Swigert hits his head on the L.E.M. ceiling]
Jack Swigert: OW! God damn this piece of shit!
Fred Haise: Hey! This piece of shit's gonna get you home. That's cause that's the only thing we got left, Jack!
Jack Swigert: Now what are you saying, Fred?
Fred Haise: Well, I think you know what I'm saying.
Jack Swigert: Now wait a minute. All I did was stir those tanks.
Fred Haise: What was that gauge reading before you hit the switch?
Jack Swigert: Hey, don't tell me how to fly the damn C.M. --
Fred Haise: You don't even know, do you?!
Jack Swigert: -- they brought me in here to do a job, they asked me to stir the damn tanks and I stirred the tanks!
Jim Lovell: Jack, stop kicking yourself in the ass. All right?
Jack Swigert: This is not my fault!
Jim Lovell: No one is saying it is. If I'm in the left-hand seat when the call comes up, I stir the tanks.
Jack Swigert: Yeah, well, tell him [Haise] that.
Fred Haise: I just asked you what the gauge was reading. And you don't know!
Jim Lovell: All right ,look, we're not doing this, gentlemen, we're not gonna do this. We're not gonna go bouncing off the walls for the next ten minutes, because we're just gonna end up right back here with the same problems! Now let's try to figure out how to stay alive!
Marilyn Lovell: We came to tell you something. There's been an accident. Jimmy's okay; he's all right. But he's not gonna get to walk on the moon.
Blanche Lovell: Well, they said he was.
Marilyn Lovell: I know. I know. That was before. Now there's been an explosion. And they're all okay, they're all right. But now they're just going to try to figure out how to get them home. And it's a little bit dangerous. (to Susan Lovell, who has started to cry) Oh, sweetie.
Blanche Lovell: (to Susan Lovell) Are you scared? (Susan Lovell nods) Well, don't you worry, honey. If they could get a washing machine to fly, my Jimmy could land it.
Jules Bergman: Apollo 13 commander, Jim Lovell, has more time in space, almost twenty-four days already, than any other man, and I asked him recently if he was ever scared.
Jim Lovell: Oh, well, I've had an engine flame out a few times in an aircraft, and was kind of curious as to wether or not it was going to light up again, things of that nature, but, uh, they seem to work out.
Jules Bergman: Is there a specific instance in an airplane emergency when you can recall fear?
Jim Lovell: Uh, well, I'll tell ya, I remember this one time - I'm in a Banshee at night in combat conditions, so there's no running lights on the carrier. It was the Shangri-La, and we were in the Sea of Japan... and my radar had jammed, and my homing signal was gone... because somebody in Japan was actually using the same frequency. And so it was - it was leading me away from where I was supposed to be. And I'm lookin' down at a big, black ocean, so I flip on my map light, and then suddenly: zap. Everything shorts out right there in my cockpit. All my instruments are gone. My lights are gone. And I can't even tell now what my altitude is. I know I'm running out of fuel, so I'm thinking about ditching in the ocean. And I, I look down there, and then in the darkness there's this uh, there's this green trail. It's like a long carpet that's just laid out right beneath me. And it was the algae, right? It was that phosphorescent stuff that gets churned up in the wake of a big ship. And it was - it was - it was leading me home. You know? If my cockpit lights hadn't shorted out, there's no way I'd ever been able to see that. So uh, you, uh, never know... what... what events are to transpire to get you home.
Henry Hurt: We've got the parachute situation, the heat shield, angle of the trajectory and the typhoon. There's just so many variables, I'm at a loss --
NASA Director: I know what the problems are, Henry. This could be the worst disaster NASA's ever experienced.
Gene Kranz: With all due respect, sir, I believe this is gonna be our finest hour.