Ohio's Aviation Heritage Audio Tour

Ohio's Aviation Heritage Audio Tour

Ohio's Aviation Heritage Tour: Jim Lovell

July 30, 2015

Stand near the Gemini spacecraft.

Cleveland native Jim Lovell served in the U.S. Navy and as a NASA astronaut with the Gemini and Apollo programs.

On Dec. 4, 1965, Lovell and Frank Borman were launched into space on the history-making Gemini 7 mission. The flight lasted 330 hours, 35 minutes and included the first rendezvous of two manned maneuverable spacecraft. The Gemini 12 mission, commanded by Lovell with Pilot Buzz Aldrin, began on Nov. 11, 1966. This four-day, 59-revolution flight brought the Gemini program to a successful close.

Lovell served as command module pilot and navigator on the epic 6-day journey of Apollo 8 – man’s maiden voyage to the moon – from Dec. 21-27, 1968. He completed his fourth mission as spacecraft commander of the Apollo 13 flight from April 11-17, 1970, and became the first man to journey twice to the moon. Apollo 13 was programmed for 10 days. However, the original flight plan was modified en route to the moon when an oxygen tank in the service module of the spacecraft exploded. Lovell and fellow crewmen, John L. Swigert and Fred W. Haise, working closely with Houston ground controllers, converted their lunar module “Aquarius” into an effective lifeboat. Their emergency activation and operation of lunar module systems conserved both electrical power and water in sufficient supply to assure their survival while in space and for their safe return to Earth.

Lovell held the record for time in space with a total of 715 hours, 5 minutes until surpassed by the Skylab flights.