In 1970 the explosion of an oxygen tank aborted Apollo 13's lunar mission. The primary problem of returning
the crew safely to earth had two components: using the quickest route, and conserving consumables (water,
oxygen, power). These two sub-tasks were in conflict, as use of the guidance system to improve trajectory
consumed large amounts of power.
In order to bring focus to the problem, a virtual team was assembled, with information and test requirements coordinated in Houston.
Every sub-contractor made available by telephone specialists with access to unlimited computer time. Open
communications allowed extensive simulations in the flight crew training building of the Kennedy Space Center
in Florida. Critical tertiary tasks that were jointly accomplished included:
Ultimately, the combined effort paid off,
as the crew was safely recovered 90 hours after the initial accident.
- Charging the command module batteries from the Lunar Lander's electrical system.
- Removal of carbon dioxide via a jury-rigged filter.
- Transfer of water to the Lunar Lander's water coolant system.
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