Jim Lovell

Jim Lovell

Infobox Astronaut
name = James Arthur Lovell, Jr.

type = Astronaut
nationality = American
date_birth = birth date and age|1928|03|25
place_birth = Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
occupation = Test Pilot
rank = Captain, USN
selection = 1962 NASA Group
time = 29d 19h 03m
mission = Gemini 7, Gemini 12, Apollo 8, Apollo 13
insignia =

James "Jim" Arthur Lovell, Jr., (born March 25, 1928) is a former NASA astronaut, most famous as the commander of Apollo 13, which suffered an explosion enroute to the Moon but was brought back safely to Earth by the efforts of the crew and mission control. Lovell was also the command module pilot of Apollo 8, the first Apollo mission to enter lunar orbit. Lovell is a recipient of the Congressional Space Medal of Honor and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He is one of only 24 men to have flown to the Moon, and the only man to have flown to the Moon twice without making a landing.


Youth and early experience

Born in Cleveland, Ohio to a Czech mother, Lovell's family moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he graduated from Juneau High School and became an Eagle Scout. [cite web | title=Newsletter Spring 2000: Notable Americans with Czech Roots | publisher=afocr.org | url=http://www.afocr.org/newsletters/spring2000.htm | accessdate=2007-11-29] cite book | last=Townley | first=Alvin | date=26 December 2006 | url=http://www.thomasdunnebooks.com/TD_TitleDetail.aspx?ISBN=0312366531|title=Legacy of Honor: The Values and Influence of America's Eagle Scouts | publisher=St. Martin's Press|location=New York|pages=pp. 80-86|isbn=0-312366531 | accessdate=2006-12-29] cite web | last=Ray | first=Mark |year=2007 | url=http://www.scoutingmagazine.org/issues/0701/a-what.html | title=What It Means to Be an Eagle Scout | work=Scouting Magazine|publisher=Boy Scouts of America | accessdate=2007-01-05] His father died in a car accident when Jim was young and, for about two years, he resided with a relative in Terre Haute, Indiana. Later he attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison for two years, joining the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity. He continued on to the United States Naval Academy and, after graduating in 1952, entered the United States Navy where he served in the Korean War. He spent four years as a test pilot at the Naval Air Test Center (now the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School) in Patuxent River, Maryland, using the call sign "Shaky" (a nickname given him by Pete Conrad). Lovell was considered for the Mercury Seven but turned down due to a medical technicality later deemed less relevant. He was then selected in 1962 for the second group of NASA astronauts.

NASA experience

Lovell was the backup pilot for Gemini 4, and his first spaceflight was as pilot of Gemini 7 in December 1965, which was the first flight to spend a fortnight in space, and also conducted the first space rendezvous with Gemini 6A. Lovell was originally scheduled to be the backup commander of Gemini 10, but after the deaths of Elliott See and Charles Bassett, he became backup commander of Gemini 9A, and in November 1966 made his second flight into space as commander of Gemini 12. After these two flights, Lovell had spent more time in space than any other human.

He was then made command module pilot on the backup crew for Apollo 9 with Neil Armstrong (Commander) and Buzz Aldrin (Lunar Module Pilot). He later replaced Michael Collins, the original command module pilot on the Apollo 9 prime crew, when Collins needed to have surgery for a bone spur on his spine. Shortly afterward the Apollo 8 and Apollo 9 crews swapped places in the flight schedule due to the re-assignment of Apollo 8 as a solo lunar orbital flight and delays in construction of the Lunar Module. Along with Frank Borman and William Anders, Lovell flew on Apollo 8 in December 1968, the first manned mission to travel to the Moon.

Lovell was backup commander of Apollo 11 and was scheduled to command Apollo 14, but he and his crew swapped missions with the crew of Apollo 13, as it was felt the commander of the other crew, Alan Shepard, needed more time to train after being grounded for a long period. On April 11 1970, Lovell took off on Apollo 13 with Fred Haise and Jack Swigert, planning to land on the Moon along with Haise. But on April 13, while in Earth-Moon transit, a damaged heater coil in a cryogenic oxygen tank sparked during a routine tank stir. This in turn triggered an explosion that crippled the Command Module "Odyssey." Venting oxygen from the damaged system, the vessel quickly lost most of both its breathable air supply and its power supply, which was fed by fuel cells that used oxygen as a reactant.Listen|filename=Apollo13-wehaveaproblem edit 1.ogg|title="Houston, we've had a problem"|description=Lovell reporting the explosion on April 13, 1970|format=Ogg

In the aftermath of the explosion, Apollo 13's lunar landing mission was aborted and the goal became simply survival. Using the lunar module's engine, oxygen and power, Lovell and his crew swung around the Moon on a free return trajectory. Based on calculations made on Earth, Lovell had to adjust the course several times by manually controlling the Lunar Module's thrusters and engine. Apollo 13 returned safely to Earth on April 17. Lovell is one of only three men to travel to the Moon twice, but unlike John Young and Eugene Cernan, he never walked on it.

His four flights made him the record holder for time in space (over 715 hours) and he had seen more sunrises from space than any human who had ever lived until the Skylab missions. It is also possible that he holds the record (with his Apollo 13 crewmates) for farthest distance a human has travelled from Earth. [cite web | url=http://www.adlerplanetarium.org/pressroom/lovell/lovell_timeline.pdf | title=Captain James A. Lovell, Jr. Timeline | accessdate=2007-10-04 | author=Salgado, José Francisco | date=30 June 2006 | format=.PDF | publisher=Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum]

After the US Navy and NASA

He retired from the Navy and the space program in 1973 and went to work at the Bay-Houston Towing Company in Houston, Texas, becoming CEO in 1975. He became president of Fisk Telephone Systems in 1977, and later worked for Centel, retiring as an executive vice president on January 1, 1991. Lovell, a recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award,cite web | url=http://members.cox.net/scouting179/Eagle%20Distinguished.htm | title=Distinguished Eagle Scouts | publisher=Troop & Pack 179 | accessdate=2006-03-02] later served as the President of the National Eagle Scout Association in the mid-1990s. He was also recognized by the Boy Scouts of America with their prestigious Silver Buffalo Award.

Along with Jeffrey Kluger, Lovell wrote a book on the Apollo 13 mission, "Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13".cite book | last=Lovell | first=Jim | coauthors=Kluger, Jeffrey | title=Apollo 13: Lost Moon | location=New York | publisher=Pocket Books | year=1995 | isbn=0671534645] This book was the basis for the later Ron Howard movie "Apollo 13" starring Tom Hanks as Lovell. In order to prepare for the role, Hanks visited Lovell and his wife at their house in Texas and even went for a ride with Lovell in his private airplane. In the movie "Apollo 13", Lovell has a cameo as the ship's captain on the recovery ship. He was initially offered to be an admiral on board the ship, but Lovell stated "I retired as a captain and a captain I will be", and he was so cast. He can be seen as the naval officer shaking Tom Hanks's hand on the recovery ship USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2) during the voice-over by Tom Hanks.

In 1999, Lovell, along with his family, opened "Lovells of Lake Forest", a fine dining restaurant in Lake Forest, Illinois. The restaurant displays many artifacts from Lovell's time with NASA, as well as from the filming of "Apollo 13". Lovell's son Jay (short for James) is the executive chef.

Lovell also visits colleges and universities where he gives speeches on his experiences as an astronaut and businessman. He strongly urges students to get involved in science and the space program and he credits NASA in the 1960s with bringing much of the country together for a common goal.

In 2006, the Adler Planetarium opened its "Shoot for the Moon" exhibit based on the life of Jim Lovell, along with the Gemini and Apollo programs.

He married Marilyn Gerlach in 1952 and they have four children - Barbara (born in 1953), James (1955), Susan (1958), and Jeffrey (1966).

Formal education

*University of Wisconsin-Madison
*United States Naval Academy (BS, 1952)
*United States Naval Test Pilot School, Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland (1958)
*Aviation Safety School, University of Southern California (1961)
*Advanced Management Program, Harvard Business School (1978)

Awards and decorations

Captain Lovell's awards and decorations include:

Military Awards
*Navy Distinguished Service Medal
*Distinguished Flying Cross with gold Service star
*Air Medal
*Navy Commendation Medal
*National Defense Service Medal
*Navy Expeditionary Medal
*Naval Astronaut Wings
*Naval Aviator Badge

Other Awards
*Eagle Scout (Boy Scouts of America) (1946) and Distinguished Eagle Scout Award (1976)
*Silver Buffalo (Boy Scouts of America) (1992)
*Harmon International Trophy (1966, 1967 and 1969)
*Alpha Phi Omega Fall Pledge Class Namesake (1967)
*Robert J. Collier Trophy (1968)
*Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy (1969)
*H. H. Arnold Trophy (1969)
*General Thomas D. White USAF Space Trophy (1969)
*Presidential Medal of Freedom
*Légion d'honneur
*NASA Distinguished Service Medal
*NASA Exceptional Service Medal
*FAI De Laval Medal & Gold Space Medals
*National Geographic Society's Hubbard Medal
*Congressional Space Medal of Honor

Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport is also called Lovell Field.

Lovell (crater) on the far side of the moon.

7th Street in Downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin is now called "North James Lovell Street".

Capt. Lovell is a Fellow in the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and a member of the prestigious Golden Eagles.

Legal dispute

In the July 25-31, 1996 issue of the "San Jose Metro", Lovell was quoted as saying the following of Moon landing hoax enthusiast Bill Kaysing:

"The guy is wacky. His position makes me feel angry. We spent a lot of time getting ready to go to the moon. We spent a lot of money, we took great risks, and it's something everybody in the country ought to be proud of."
Kaysing sued Lovell for libel.cite web | last=Mechanic | first=Michael | date=January 1997 | url=http://www.metroactive.com/papers/metro/01.23.97/polis-rpt-9704.html | title=Astro Nots | work=Polis Report | publisher=Metroactive News & Issues | accessdate=2006-05-22] In 1997, a judge dismissed the case. [cite book | last=Plait | first=Philip | coauthors= | title=Bad Astronomy: Misconceptions and Misuses Revealed, from Astrology to the Moon Landing "Hoax" | page=173 location= | publisher=John Wiley & Sons | year=2002 | isbn=0471409766]

Lovell on film

In 1976, Lovell made a cameo appearance in the Nicolas Roeg movie The Man Who Fell to Earth.

In 1995, actor Tom Hanks portrayed Lovell in the hit movie "Apollo 13", based on Lovell's book "Lost Moon". Lovell himself makes a cameo in this movie, playing the captain of the U.S.S. "Iwo Jima" at the end of the film.

In 1998, actor Tim Daly portrayed Lovell in portions of the HBO miniseries "From the Earth to the Moon". The film depicts Lovell during his missions aboard Gemini 12, Apollo 8, and Apollo 13, though he is not seen on screen during the latter mission.

Lovell is one of the astronauts featured in the documentaries "In the Shadow of the Moon" and When We Left Earth.


External links

* [http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/lovell-ja.html NASA bio of Jim Lovell]
* [http://www.lovellsoflakeforest.com/ Lovells of Lake Forest]
* [http://www.spacefacts.de/bios/astronauts/english/lovell_james.htm Spacefacts biography of Jim Lovell]
* [http://www.astronautics.tv/apollo13.html Apollo 13 - the Mission and the Movie]
* [http://www.pritzkermilitarylibrary.org/events/2006-10-19-frontandcenter.jsp Interview with Lovell]
* [http://www.kepplerspeakers.com/speakers/speakers.asp?1+EV+452 Capt. Jim Lovell Biography]

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