Astronaut Ken Mattingly has died. His decision saved the Apollo 13 crew

Astronaut Ken Mattingly has died. His decision saved the Apollo 13 crew
Astronaut Ken Mattingly has died. His decision saved the Apollo 13 crew

The American NASA announced the big loss. Former astronaut Ken Mattingly has died at the age of 87. It went down in history as one of the most famous space missions. Mattingly’s quick thinking saved the crew of the cursed Apollo 13 flight.

The American National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) came with the sad news. On Tuesday, its longtime member and one of the most respected astronauts, Thomas Kenneth Mattingly, who was called Ken for short, died. Mattingly was 87 years old.

Mattingly participated in several expeditions into space, but had to postpone his first flight. Due to rubella, which broke out in his family shortly before the start, he could not participate in it in 1970. His mission was to be the Apollo 13 flight, which was indelibly written in the history of astronautics.

Even though Mattingly had to stay on Earth, he still joined the mission. Apollo 13, whose crew consisting of James Lowell, Fred Hais and John Swigert was supposed to land on the moon, ran into problems. Less than an hour after launch, the astronauts on board heard an explosion. The module began to rapidly lose oxygen, which was vital to the crew.

That’s when the famous “Houston, we have a problem” message was made. The astronauts had to return to Earth, but due to leaking oxygen, they did not have enough electricity to get home safely. It was this problem that the crew and the control center in Houston had to solve.

Among them was Mattingly, who greatly contributed to the rescue of three astronauts. “Ken stayed on Earth and provided key, immediate decisions that helped successfully bring back both the Apollo 13 crew and the damaged module,” recalled NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

The crew of Apollo 13 survived the extremely dangerous situation unscathed thanks to Mattingly’s contribution. The story of Apollo 13 was retold in the 1995 film of the same name starring Tom Hansen. Ken Mattingly was portrayed there by the famous actor Gary Sinise, who appeared, for example, in the movie Forrest Gump or in the series Crime Scene New York.

Mattingly later, as part of the Apollo 16 flight that flew in 1972, also landed on the moon himself. He then flew into space twice in the space shuttle Columbia. He received many awards during his career and even earned the rank of rear admiral, one of the highest ranks in the US Navy.

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The article is in Czech

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