Jim Lovell, Jr., was born on March 25, 1928. He is a former NASA astronaut and a former captain in the United States Navy, most famous as the commander of the Apollo 13 mission, which suffered an explosion en route to the Moon but was brought back safely to Earth by the efforts of the crew and mission control. Lovell was also the command module pilot of Apollo 8, the first Apollo mission to enter lunar orbit. Lovell is a recipient of the Congressional Space Medal of Honor and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He is one of only 24 people to have flown to the Moon, and the only person to have flown to the Moon twice without making a landing. Lovell was also the first American to fly in space four times.
Lovell was backup commander of Apollo 11 and was scheduled to command Apollo 14, but he and his crew swapped missions with the crew of Apollo 13, as it was felt the commander of the other crew, Alan Shepard, needed more time to train after being grounded for a long period. On April 11, 1970, Lovell took off on Apollo 13 with Fred Haise and Jack Swigert, planning to land on the Moon along with Haise. But on April 13, while in Earth-Moon transit, a damaged heater coil in a cryogenic oxygen tank sparked during a routine tank stir. This in turn triggered an explosion that crippled the Command Module "Odyssey." Venting oxygen from the damaged system, the vessel quickly lost most of both its breathable air supply and its power supply, which was fed by fuel cells that used oxygen as a reactant.
In the aftermath of the explosion, Apollo 13's lunar landing mission was aborted and the goal became simply survival. Using the lunar module's engine, oxygen and power, Lovell and his crew swung around the Moon on a free return trajectory. Based on calculations made on Earth, Lovell had to adjust the course several times by manually controlling the Lunar Module's thrusters and engine. Apollo 13 returned safely to Earth on April 17. Lovell is one of only three men to travel to the Moon twice, but unlike John Young and Eugene Cernan, he never walked on it.
His four flights made him the record holder for time in space (over 715 hours) and he had seen more sunrises from space than any human who had ever lived until the Skylab missions.
The Space Store is an online store offering fine quality space products from our on-line discount store. Shop our store to buy NASA gifts, SpaceX Products, Space Shuttle collectibles, International Space Station and Apollo space program products. Buy astronaut autographs, space and NASA memorabilia and collectibles, space toys, rockets, astronaut dolls, space LEGO toys, and astronaut costumes. We sell NASA flight suits, space shuttle flight jackets, NASA mission patches and mission insignia pins. Shop us for Fisher space pens, meteorite jewelry and astronomy toys.