Science

U of T engineers honoured for Apollo 13 aid

A team from the University of Toronto Institute of Aerospace Studies is about to receive special recognition for the crucial role it played in the rescue of three Apollo 13 astronauts 40 years ago.

A team from the University of Toronto Institute of Aerospace Studies is about to receive special recognition for the crucial role it played in the rescue of three Apollo 13 astronauts 40 years ago.

The team will be honoured with the Canadian Air and Space Museum's Pioneer award during a ceremony Tuesday at the museum just outside Toronto.

The drama began on April 13, 1970, when an oxygen tank on the Apollo spacecraft exploded, forcing a planned lunar landing to be scrapped in mid-mission.

Astronaut Jack Swigert sent a message from the Apollo command module, telling mission control: "Houston, we've had a problem here."

A phone call for assistance was made to the University of Toronto Institute of Aerospace Studies on April 16, 1970.

The team was engaged to figure out crucial calculations needed to separate Apollo's command module from its lunar module to allow them to return safely to Earth.

The lunar module had served as a lifeboat for Swigert and James Lovell and Fred Haise, his two space companions, as scientists and engineers worked out rescue plans for the astronauts. 

now