Minute 125: Our Finest Hour

July 31, 2020

RETRO has informed Gene Kranz that the Command Module’s re-entry path may be shallowing out, but there’s nothing that can be done to change the trajectory.

“Then, they don’t need to know, do they?” asks Kranz, re-tying his tie.

“Copy that,” replies RETRO.

“RETRO says the typhoon is still a presence in the splash down area?” says Henry Hurt, the Public Affairs Officer.

“Yeah,” replies the NASA Director.

“What’a we got?” says Henry. “The parachute situation, the heat shield, the angle of trajectory and the typhoon, there’s just so many variables. I’m a little at a loss-”

“I know what the problems are, Henry,” interrupts the NASA Director. “This could be the worst disaster NASA’s ever experienced.”

Gene Kranz, overhearing the conversation, leans in.

“With all due respect, sir,” says Kranz, “I believe this is gonna be our finest hour.”

“Okay,” replies the NASA Director, quietly Ken Mattingly is CAPCOM.

“Expect entry interface in 45 seconds,” says Mattingly, “and on my mark, your velocity will be 35,245 feet per second. Mark. 35 seconds to entry interface.”

The tropical cyclone over Fiji shows lightning rippling through the clouds as the Command Module heads toward the Pacific Ocean.

Inside the Command Module, the crew looks at the instrument panel in front of them.

“Gentlemen,” says Jim Lovell, “It’s been a privilege flying with you.”

Jack Swigert looks to his right.


Mark McClure as Glynn Lunney

Gary Sinese as Ken Mattingly

Bill Paxton as Fred Haise

Googy Gress as RETRO – White

Ed Harris as Gene Kranz

Xander Berkeley as PAO Henry Hurt

Joe Spano as NASA Director

Loren Dean as John Aaron

Brent Cullen as CAPCOM

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