• Vice President of Education Tracey Tomme starts off the Apollo 13 Redux session with the help of Apollo 13 Mission Crew members (from left) Jerry Bostick, James Lovell, Glynn Lunney, Fred Haise, Gerry Griffin, Jack Lousma, and Milt Windler during the Fly Around Dine Around event at the Cosmosphere on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015.

  • Michael Smyth takes video of James Lovell as he briefs the Apollo 13 Redux session participants on the stages of the mission at the start of the program, held as part of the Fly Around Dine Around event at the Cosmosphere on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015.

  • James Lovell (center) and Gerry Griffin (center left) talk beside the Apollo 13 command module while helping the "North American Aviation" group gather information for their teams during the Apollo 13 Redux as part of the Fly Around Dine Around event at the Cosmosphere on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015.

  • Cecilia Garcia shakes hands with James Lovell after participating in the Apollo 13 Redux as part of the Fly Around Dine Around event at the Cosmosphere on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015.

  • Fred Haise takes a picture as participants in the Apollo 13 Redux work in their breakout groups to estimate the risk of each team's plan to help determine one final plan to implement in helping the lunar and command modules properly dock. The Apollo 13 Redux event was held as part of the Fly Around Dine Around event at the Cosmosphere on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015.

  • Jack Lousma (at end of table) helps the "backup astronauts" access what supplies they can use as resources as they gather information for their teams during the Apollo 13 Redux as part of the Fly Around Dine Around event at the Cosmosphere on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015. The teams were tasked with finding a solution after the docking procedure to allow the astronauts into the lunar module failed.

  • Aaron Ochsner, 13, Ron Saathoff, and Adam Ochsner, 13, confer with their team to come up with a procedure to get the lunar and command modules to properly dock while participating in the Apollo 13 Redux during the Fly Around Dine Around at the Cosmosphere on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015.

  • (from right) Emi Capps, Greg Capps, and Sofia Garcia, of the Blue Team, work in the "mission control" group while participating in the Apollo 13 Redux during the Fly Around Dine Around event at the Cosmosphere on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015. The mission control members were tasked with determining how much oxygen the spacecraft had and how much it could afford to use in getting the lunar and command modules to properly dock.

  • Mike McHugh (right) and Marvin Nipper present the Green Team's plan - to use additional thrust to try to deploy the spring loaded clamps - during the Apollo 13 Redux as part of the Fly Around Dine Around event at the Cosmosphere on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015. The teams were tasked with finding a solution after the docking procedure to allow the astronauts into the lunar module failed.

  • Jared Smart plays the marimba as the Buhler High School Marching Band performs to welcome the Apollo 13 Mission Crew to the Fly Around Dine Around event on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015, at the Cosmosphere.

  • (from left) Jerry Bostick, James Lovell, Glynn Lunney, Jack Lousma, Gerry Griffin, and Fred Haise watch and listen as Apollo 13 music is played by the Buhler High School Marching Band to welcome the Apollo 13 Mission Crew to the Fly Around Dine Around event on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015, at the Cosmosphere.

  • James Lovell says a few words to the Buhler High School Marching Band after they performed music from Apollo 13 to welcome the Apollo 13 Mission Crew to the Fly Around Dine Around event on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015, at the Cosmosphere.

  • The Buhler High School Marching Band welcomes the Apollo 13 Mission Crew to the Fly Around Dine Around event on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015, at the Cosmosphere.

  • Milt Windler (center) and Glynn Lunney listen as the Buhler High School Marching Band plays to welcome the Apollo 13 Mission Crew to the Fly Around Dine Around event on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015, at the Cosmosphere.

  • The Buhler High School Marching Band welcomes the Apollo 13 Mission Crew to the Fly Around Dine Around event on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015, at the Cosmosphere.

  • (from left) Jerry Bostick, James Lovell, Glynn Lunney, Jack Lousma, Gerry Griffin, and Fred Haise listen and take photos as the Buhler High School Marching Band performs to welcome the Apollo 13 Mission Crew to the Fly Around Dine Around event on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015, at the Cosmosphere.

  • Ethan Dick and Rebecca Regehr play clarinet as the Buhler High School Marching Band plays to welcome the Apollo 13 Mission Crew to the Fly Around Dine Around event on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015, at the Cosmosphere.

  • The Buhler color guard sports astronaut jumpsuits while performing a welcome for the Apollo 13 Mission Crew to the Fly Around Dine Around event on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015, at the Cosmosphere.

Cosmosphere group succeeds in simulated mission

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Cosmosphere had its first ever Apollo 13 Redux simulation Saturday during its Fly Around Dine Around events, and the approximately 100 participants passed with flying colors.

The scenario the group contended with was different than the real Apollo 13. After watching footage of the launch, astronaut Jim Lovell, who was the commander for Apollo 13, briefed the crowd on the different stages of the mission before the group was informed that the docking procedure to allow the astronauts into the lunar module had failed.

The participants task was to gather information and come up with plans to get the mission back on track in time to complete the mission and return home with enough oxygen and power. There were 10 teams, with each participant assigned a role as part of mission control, a backup astronaut, or part of manufacturers Grumman Aircraft or North American Aviation.

At their stations, the groups gathered information to be used in developing a solution with their teams. The mission control group focused on how much oxygen the spacecraft had and how much it could afford to use trying to solve the problem.

"In space, oxygen equals time," volunteer Tim Givan told the group.

When teams regrouped, each team developed and proposed a plan to get the lunar and command modules to properly dock. After the teams assessed the risks of each plan, the Green Team's proposal was selected – to use more thrust in trying to get the spring-loaded clamps to deploy.

Several other teams proposed similar plans, and the Green Team's proposal worked, getting the lunar and command modules to properly dock to finish the mission and get everyone home safely.

"I was impressed by the questions that were asked," Apollo 13 mission control member Glynn Lunney said of the simulation participants.

Political will is main barrier to Mars mission, NASA veterans say

Lovell, lunar module pilot Fred Haise and several Apollo 13 mission control personnel were at the Cosmosphere for the Fly Around Dine Around. They shared a consensus that they won't live to see manned missions to Mars, but today's young people could if there is enough interest in it.

"If you put your mind to it," Lovell said. "It's not a technical question. It's a question of if you want to do it."

Unfortunately, they didn't think there is the same interest in missions to Mars as there was in the Apollo program. Haise said Americans really got behind the Apollo program for the prestige of it and competition with the Soviet Union. Lunney said politics are the barrier to traveling to Mars, not technical ability or vision.

Fellow mission control member Gerry Griffin said it is time for astronauts to travel to the moon again to start preparing for Mars missions.

As for Apollo 13, Lovell said that as much as he wished he could have landed on the moon, the mission's problems were maybe the best thing that could have happened for NASA.

"I think Apollo 13 revived what people could do in the case of an emergency," he said.

He said people might have been complacent, thinking that a moon landing could be a routine thing after the success of Apollo 11 and 12.

He added that the timing of the explosion that crippled the service module was for the best. If it had happened much later, they probably wouldn't have been able to return.

"If you're going to have an accident on the way to the moon, have it about 200,000 miles out," he said.

Fly Around Dine Around

The Apollo 13 Redux, which the Cosmosphere plans to continue offering for schools, was just one of the events in the fourth annual Fly Around Dine Around. The day kicked off with a concert outside the Cosmosphere by the Buhler High School band, with the drill and cheer teams dressed as astronauts.

Other Apollo 13-themed events continued until 4 p.m. when the Cosmosphere closed to prepare for the Fly Around Dine Around banquet and reception.

Tracy Tomme, Cosmosphere vice president of education, said all of the day's events sold out in advance.

The Fly Around Dine Around even attracted a public radio crew all the way from WPKN in Bridgeport, Connecticut. "Cosmic Perspective" host Andy Poniros said the Cosmosphere and Apollo 13 Redux event were both phenomenal.