Minute 059: If This Doesn’t Work

January 03, 2019

The three astronauts look at the pressure gauge, which continues to fall.

“If this doesn’t work,” says Swigert, “we’re not gonna have enough power left to get home.”

Staring at the meter, the gauge stands at 200 PSI, then begins to drop precipitously.

EECOM watches his console as the pressure and quantity continues to drop.

The needle on the Command Module’s panel drops to zero.

“S–t!” says Haise.

“God dammit!” says EECOM.

“Uh, Houston,” says Haise, “Oh-Two on One is still falling.”

Lovell looks out Window Number One and considers the plumes of vapor pouring into outer space.

“Fredo, how long does it take to power up the LM?” asks Lovell.

“Three hours, by the checklist,” replies Haise.

“We don’t have that much time,” says Lovell.

Haise realizes the implications of the time constraint. “S–t!” he repeats, and dives into the LM tunnel, operations manual clenched between his teeth.

“Okay, now, Jack, before the batteries completely die on us in here, let’s uh, let’s power down everything, so we can save as much as we can for re-entry,” says Lovell.

Back at Mission Control, Kranz and EECOM huddle for a conference.

“We have fifteen minutes of oxygen, and that’s it,” explains EECOM, “the Command Module will be dead.”

“Okay,” says Kranz. He turns to the other controllers. “Okay-” he begins.


Jim Lovell: Tom Hanks
Jack Swigert: Kevin Bacon
Fred Haise: Bill Paxton
Gene Kranz: Ed Harris
EECOM White Team: Clint Howard
TELMU White Team: Jim Meskimen
CAPCOM: Brett Cullen
Deke Slayton: Chris Ellis
NASA Director: Joe Spano
Flight Surgeon: Christian Clemenson

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