Minute 021: Charlie Duke has the Measles

July 23, 2018

The Saturn V continues down the crawlerway.

“Fredo and I are going to be going over the lunar experiments tomorrow,” says Lovell to Walter, the technician, “and Ken’s going to be back in the simulator. We’re going to be going over the flight plan tonight, as well.”  He shakes hands with a pad technician. Pointing at the Saturn V, Lovell says, “We’re going to be paying a visit to this beautiful machine after you’re hard down!”

A NASA car pulls up behind Lovell.  Deke Slayton and the flight surgeon step out of the car.

“Jim,” says Deke, “We’ve got a problem.”

“I just got some blood work back from the lab,” says the flight surgeon, “Charlie Duke has the measles.”

“So, we need a new backup,” says Lovell.

“You’ve all been exposed to it,” says the flight surgeon.

“Well, I’ve had the measles,” replies Lovell.

“Ken Mattingly hasn’t,” says Deke.

In the NASA Director’s office, Lovell continues the conversation.

“You – you want to break up my crew, two days before the launch,” asks Lovell, “when we can predict each other’s moves and we can read the tone of each other’s voices?”

“Ken Mattingly will be getting seriously ill precisely when you and Haise will be ascending from the lunar surface to rendezvous with him,” explains the flight surgeon.

“Jim,” says Deke, “that’s a lousy time for a fever.”

“Alright, now look,” replies Lovell, “Jack Swigert has been out of the loop for weeks.”

“He’s fully qualified to fly this mission,” says the Director.

“He’s a fine pilot,” says Lovell, “but when was the last time he was in a simulator?”

“I’m sorry, Jim. I understand how you feel,” says the Director. “Now, we can do one of two things here -”


Jim Lovell: Tom Hanks
Technician Walter: Walter von Huene
Deke Slayton: Chris Ellis
Flight Surgeon Dr. Chuck: Christian Clemenson
NASA Director: Joe Spano

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