Apollo 13 pre-mission simulations


“I have never seen anything as bad as we make it in these tests actually happen yet.” – Don Gray

As with any Apollo mission, extensive pre-mission simulations involving the Manned Space Flight Network
were conducted to try to account for any eventuality.

This article from The Canberra Times, three days before the mission, reports
on the preparations at Honeysuckle Creek.

Canberra Times 9 April 1970

Simulations at Honeysuckle Creek.

This article from The Canberra Times, April 9th 1970, shows pre-mission training at Honeysuckle for Apollo 13. Contrary to the caption, John Saxon is at left, and Mike Dinn is on the right!

From the article –

Station Director Don Gray: “I have never seen anything as bad as we make it in these tests actually happen yet.”

Just a few days later, the Network was to face a situation even more challenging than any simulated.

(A scan of the original photo has been substituted for the lower quality newspaper rendering.)

Fred Haise
Jim Lovell

What might have been.

The astronauts and flight controllers also conducted exhaustive simulations.

Here’s audio of an EVA simulation at “Fra Mauro” on 12th February 1970, recording starting at 17:30GMT – preserved by Network Controller Richard Stachurski, as heard from his console loop in the MOCR. (Image of the tape.)

audio 3.9MB mp3 file runs for 16 minutes.

Fred Haise is heard practising drilling core samples, and Jim Lovell is setting up the ALSEP.

Joe Kerwin is the Capcom.

It is unclear whether the astronauts were at KSC (as they were in late January and early February) or at MSC Houston.

Audio tape transferred and encoded by Colin Mackellar.

Above left, Fred Haise at Kennedy Space Center on January 28 1970. Above right, Jim Lovell at KSC on February 3 1970. Both photos courtesy of Kipp Teague’s Apollo Image Gallery. Scan of Fred Haise by Ed Hengeveld.