Jim Lovell

James Arthur "Jim" Lovell, Jr. ( born March 25, 1928 in Cleveland, Ohio ) is an American former NASA astronaut. He was commander of the Apollo 13 space flight, which had to be canceled due to an explosion on the way to the moon.

Start of career

Lovell graduated from the University of Wisconsin and at the United States Naval Academy and graduated in 1952 with a Bachelor of Science degree. Lovell served in the U.S. Navy as a pilot before he in Patuxent River, Maryland attended the Test Pilot School. From 1958 to 1962 he served in the U.S. Navy as a test pilot.

During this time he also participated in the NASA tests for future astronauts. He was on the shortlist, but did not make it to the Mercury Seven, who were selected for the Mercury program.


When NASA was looking for a second astronaut group, Lovell is applied again and this time was accepted.

On September 17, 1962, he was presented with the second group of astronauts to the public. As a specialty during training him to salvage the landing capsule was transferred to the splashdown.

His first division to a space flight he received in June 1965 he was assigned as a replacement pilot for Gemini 4. Had Edward White failed, Lovell would have left the first American to his spaceship in orbit for a spacewalk.

On 1 July 1965 he was nominated as a pilot for Gemini 7. On December 4, 1965, he launched with Frank Borman to this long-duration flight. With 14 days stay in space featured on the two a new record that was only broken in June 1970 with 17 days of the occupation of the Soviet spacecraft Soyuz 9.

When, after the fatal crash of an astronaut Elliott See and Charles Bassett the team allocations of Gemini flights were rescheduled in March 1966, Lovell received the item as a replacement commander of Gemini 9 In Gemini 8 in March and at Gemini 9 in June 1966 worked Lovell as speaker connection ( Capcom ) in the flight control center in Houston.

Shortly after the landing of Gemini 9, on 17 June 1966 Lovell then received the nomination for his second space flight and his first command. Along with Edwin Aldrin, he should perform the last Geminiflug. Gemini 12 was carried out in November 1966.

Lovell had become in less than a year to one of the most experienced astronaut of NASA.


As part of the Apollo program, it was first divided into the backup crew of the third manned Apollo flight, the Mission E in November 1967. During the preparations for the Apollo flights Lovell led from April 5 to April 7, 1968 along with Stuart Roosa and Charles Duke, a simulated ditching by where they drove for two days in an Apollo capsule landing in the Gulf of Mexico.

Due to health problems, had to undergo surgery to Michael Collins from the captaincy of the mission E, so Lovell nachrückte in the home team in the summer of 1968. However, because the Lunar Module was not yet available, missions and teams were rescheduled. The mission of E was taken as a mission C '( prime ) before Mission D when Apollo 8 numbered and got a new goal: a flight to the moon without a lunar module. The public was informed only after the successful conclusion of the Apollo 7 of these plans.

The flight of Apollo 8 took place until 27 December 1968 by December 21. It was the first manned launch of the Saturn V rocket and the first flight to the moon.

Shortly thereafter, Lovell was nominated as a replacement commander of Apollo 11. Would Neil Armstrong failed, Lovell would have been the first man to walk on the moon.

Lovell was first provided as a commander for Apollo 14, while Alan Shepard, who had been missing for a long time for reasons of health, Apollo was to lead 13. However, the management of NASA wanted to give Shepard more time, so took Shepard Apollo 14, and Lovell was nominated on 6 August 1969 as commander of Apollo 13. He was thus intended to enter as the fifth man on the moon. With the flight of Apollo 13 Lovell was also the first man, who completed four space flights.

The launch took place on 11 April 1970. However, an explosion aboard the spacecraft forced the crew, the moon just to walk around without landing. Lovell and his crew ( Fred Haise and Swigert John ) narrowly escaped death. Lovell has thus never set foot on the moon.

For a long time held Lovell with 715 hours continuous record for manned space flights, which was broken in 1973 by the crew of Skylab 2. A record he still holds today along with Haise and Swigert, is the greatest distance a person from Earth: 400,171 km.

According to the NASA

Lovell left NASA and the Navy on March 1, 1973 and entered into the Bay - Houston Towing Company, where he was appointed Managing Director on 1 March 1975. On January 1, 1977, he moved to Fisk Telephone Systems. As Fisk was taken over in 1981 by Centel, he got a job there as head of corporate communications systems. In 1991, Lovell retired.

Together with Jeffrey Kluger wrote Lovell the book " Apollo 13" ( in the original: "Lost Moon" ). Even before the book was finished writing the movie rights a company of director Ron Howard were sold at Imagine Entertainment. Universal Studios produced the film " Apollo 13" with Tom Hanks in the role of Jim Lovell. He himself has a cameo as the captain of the vessel that holds the landing capsule.

Opened in 1999, Lovell Lake Forest, a suburb of Chicago, a gourmet restaurant, where some artifacts from his NASA - time and the movie "Apollo 13" display. Meanwhile his son " Jay" Lovell III is there Chef.

Special features and Records

  • The first man, who was four times in space
  • First flight to the moon (along with Frank Borman and William Anders) (Apollo 8)
  • Greatest distance from the earth, along with Jack Swigert and Fred Haise (Apollo 13)
  • 1965-1970 together with Frank Borman record holder for the longest space flight (Gemini 7)
  • 1965-1973 record holder for the longest time in space, including 1965-1966 with Frank Borman
  • First man with two moon flights (Apollo 8 and Apollo 13) and to this day the only person who flew twice to the moon without landing on it.


Immediately after landing Lovell as the other two astronauts of Apollo 13 by President Richard Nixon was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, one of the two highest civilian awards in the United States.

Lovell was awarded as the ninth astronauts the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.

In 1998 he was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame.

In 1968, he was with his comrades of Apollo 8 Man of the Year in Time Magazine.