Apollo astronaut

April 1, 2006
FRED HAISE understands the true meaning of the message, Houston, we have a problem, having experienced the aborted 1970 Apollo 13 mission in which he

FRED HAISE understands the true meaning of the message, “Houston, we have a problem,” having experienced the aborted 1970 Apollo 13 mission in which he was the lunar module pilot.

The former astronaut will discuss that experience and other aspects of a long career as a NASA pilot and later as an executive in the aerospace industry at The National Tank Truck Carriers 58th annual Conference and Truck Equipment Show May 7-9 in San Antonio, Texas.

The Apollo 13 mission was planned to be the third mission to carry humans to the surface of the Moon, but an explosion of one of the oxygen tanks and resulting damage to other systems caused the mission to be aborted before the planned lunar landing could take place.

The crew was composed of Haise, lunar module pilot, James A Lovell Jr commander, and John L Swigert Jr, command module pilot.

Working closely with Houston ground controllers, the crew converted their lunar module, Aquarius, into an effective lifeboat.

Their emergency activation and operation of lunar module systems conserved both electrical power and water in sufficient supply to assure their safety and survival while in space and for return to Earth April 17, 1970.

The Apollo 13 mission was dramatized in 1995 in an award-winning Ron Howard movie of the same name.

Haise's perseverance was further tested when in 1973 he was involved in a plane crash during the making of a movie, Tora! Tora! Tora!. He was burned over 65% of his body and was hospitalized for three months.

After spending 14 months regaining flight status, Haise flew five flights as the commander of the space shuttle, Enterprise, during approach and landing tests at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

Haise began his career with NASA in April 1966. He served as backup lunar module pilot for the Apollo 8 and 11 missions, and backup spacecraft commander for the Apollo 16 mission.

He resigned from NASA in June 1979 to become vice-president, space programs at Grumman Aerospace Corp. Haise is currently president of Grumman Technical Services Inc.

A graduate of the University of Oklahoma in 1959 with a bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering, Haise holds an honorary doctorate of science from Western Michigan University and attended Harvard Business School.