ADVANTAGES

The crew’s understated radio message to Mission Control was "Okay, Houston, we’ve had a problem here." Within 321,860 kilometers of Earth, an oxygen tank in the Service Module exploded. The only solution was for the crew to abort their planned landing, swing around the Moon, and return on a trajectory back to Earth. Because their command module "Odyssey" was almost completely dead, however, the three astronauts had to use the Lunar Module "Aquarius" as a crowded lifeboat for the return home. The four-day return trip was cold, uncomfortable, and tense. But proved the program’s ability to weather a major crisis and bring the crew back home safely.

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