Complete ring-bound Apollo 13 LM Contingency Checklist utilized on the ground during the critical burns for the endangered flight, marked “Qtrs” in the upper right, 61 double-sided pages, 6 x 8, with a “List of Effective Pages” ‘changed’ date of April 1, 1970. The checklist has hundreds of penciled notations and cross-outs throughout, reflecting devised plans, revisions, and later communicated readings for the PC+2 and MCC-5 critical burns of the flight during the crisis. Many of the notations agree with the initial read-ups from Mission Control, while some do not, and others reflect later readings. It is uncertain as to who made all these notes, but they are contemporary with the flight, and indicate the Ground Elapsed Time for readouts for many of the pages. Both the MSC Houston and the Cape Kennedy Space Center LM simulators were utilized in devising procedures for the burns. In addition to these copious on-ground, mission-critical notations, the checklist has been signed with lengthy quotations by several astronauts and personnel associated with Apollo 13: Jim Lovell, Fred Haise, Jack Lousma, Vance Brand, Charlie Duke, Joe Kerwin, and Jerry Bostick.
The front cover of the checklist has been signed by Apollo 13 astronauts Fred Haise and James Lovell in black ballpoint, “I’m looking through the AOT there, Jack, and the sun’s right in the top and it’s about 2 degrees to the right of the cursor. So that looks real good! Fred Haise, Apollo 13 LMP,” and “I hope you guys in the back room who thought up this right, knew what they were saying MCC5 burn, James Lovell, Apollo 13 CDR.”
The inside of the cover has been signed by two Apollo 13 CAPCOMS, “13, Houston, We’d like you to start making your way over to the LM. Jack Lousma, Ap 13 CAPCOM. It’s (O2 Pressure) slowly going to zero. We’re starting to think about the LM lifeboat,” and “‘—For attitude…we’re going to want…to manually orient the spacecraft to place the earth in the center of your window…if you hold it there throughout the burn, the attitude will be correct,’ MCC5, Vance Brand, Apollo-13 CAPCOM.”
On the next page, the title page for the checklist, Charlie Duke has signed in black ballpoint, “Revised procedures for the PC+2 burn & MCC5 burn for the LM Aquarius, Charlie Duke, Apollo 13, Backup LM Pilot.” The reverse of this page has additionally been signed in black ink, “‘Farewell Aquarius, and we thank you,’ Joe Kerwin, CAPCOM, Apollo 13,” and “As long as we bring the LEM down someplace it doesn’t bonk everybody on the head, it’s not going to do anyone a bit of harm. Jerry Bostick, Apollo 13, FIDO—the mission, Technical Advisor—the movie.”
Lovell signs again on the blank back of the fifth page, “I don’t have all the confidence in the world in this Earth-Sun P52, James Lovell, Apollo 13 CDR.” In fine condition, with expected wear from use. Additionally includes a detailed ALS by Charlie Duke, signed “Charlie Duke, Apollo 13 backup LMP,” one page, 8.5 x 11, personal letterhead, December 21, 2010. In part: “Congratulations on acquiring the full copy of the Apollo 13 LM Contingency Checklist marked ‘Qtrs.’ I was privileged to serve as the backup lunar module pilot for Apollo 13…As you know about 55 hours GET, one of the tanks exploded which caused a leak in the other oxygen tank…The backup crew was notified and within 30 minutes we were at MCC to assist. The immediate problem was to get Apollo 13 back via a free return trajectory so we had to develop the procedures for the powerup and the PC+2 burn. John and I manned the simulator to devise and try out their procedures. During this time, we were successful in devising the procedures for the PC+2 burn. At other times throughout the flight, we devised procedures for the MCC-5 burn which was a manual burn without the aid of a computer or mission timer. We also developed various power up and power down procedures to conserve our precious battery power…At the appropriate times, I acted as Capcom in MCC and read up the revised procedures to Fred Haise and the GET when to implement them.”
The ‘PC+2 Burn’ (two hours after Apollo 13’s closest approach to the moon, known as ‘Pericynthion’) was the critical burn to speed up the return to Earth and change the eventual landing site to a more favorable position. The ‘MCC5 Burn,’ or ‘Mid Course Correction #5 Burn,’ was a required course correction to precisely enter Earth’s atmosphere at the time, speed, and angle required for survival through the atmospheric heating effects of re-entry. A remarkable piece of Apollo 13 history.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.