Minute 032: The Old Needle and Thread Again

August 14, 2018


The gantry elevator door opens, and the crew steps out, Lovell leading the way to the White Room and the Command Module.

The morning sun sparkles on the Atlantic coastline, viewed from the top of Pad 39A.

In Houston’s Mission Control Center, a video screen shows the image of the Saturn V at Pad 39A. Launch trajectory information is displayed to the right of the image.


A flight controller hands off a white cardboard box to another controller in a green shirt.  “This is for Gene,” says the first controller.

“Mrs Kranz has pulled out the old needle and thread again, “says the White Team’s Flight Dynamics Officer, Jerry Bostick (FIDO).

“The last one looks like he bought it off a gypsy,” replies the White Team’s Guidance Officer (Guido).

“Well, you can’t argue with tradition,” says the White Team’s Retrofire officer (RETRO).

“Copy that,” says Gene Kranz.

“This is from your wife, Gene,” says the controller in the green shirt.

“Thank you, Tom,” replies Kranz. He opens the box. “Starting to get worried!” Kranz unwraps a white vest with the Apollo 13 logo sewn into it. Kranz holds up the vest so the other controllers can see it.

“I like that one, Gene!” says a controller.

“Sharp, Gene!” says another controller.

Back in the Command Module, Haise is being strapped into his seat.  Each astronaut has a techician push down on the astronaut’s shoulder with a foot, while cinching their seat straps tight.

“Jim, you’re all set!” says Guenter Wendt.  Lovell smiles at him.


Jim Lovell: Tom Hanks
Jack Swigert: Kevin Bacon
Fred Haise: Bill Paxton
Asst Flight Controller: Rory Aylward
FIDO White Team Jerry Bostick: Ray McKinnon
GUIDO White Team: Andy Milder
RETRO White Team: Googy Gress
Gene Kranz: Ed Harris
Marilyn Lovell: Kathleen Quinlan
Mary Haise: Tracy Reiner
Guenter Wendt: Endre Hules

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