Jim Lovell's Climb to the Stars

Essay by andreazentzHigh School, 11th gradeA+, January 2003

download word file, 10 pages 3.4

The sixties were a time of cultural upheavals, such as the horror of the Kennedy and King assassinations, the violence of protests, and the brutality of the war in Vietnam. And then something incredible happened: Human beings had taken the step into space, leaving their home planet to explore the universe. Astronaut Alan Shepard had just flown a fifteen-minute suborbital flight, America's first space mission. This inspired President John F. Kennedy to stand in front of a joint session of Congress on September 12, 1962 at Rice University in Houston, Texas. It was on this day he stated the unimaginable, "I believe this nation should commit itself, before this decade is out, to landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth." The impact was immediate, and America began the race to the moon. This colossal goal was accomplished on July 20, 1969 when Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin landed on the moon.

By the 1970s traveling to the moon almost seemed "routine". But in April 1970 America was shocked when Jim Lovell radioed to mission control almost 200,000 miles from earth, "Houston, we have a problem." A major malfunction had crippled the Apollo 13 spacecraft, and Lovell and his crew worked together to survive. Jim Lovell is most widely known for his heroic efforts to save Apollo 13, but he also made important contributions to the Gemini and Apollo programs.

Jim Lovell was born on March 25, 1928, in Cleveland, Ohio. Even when he was young, he was fascinated with building his own model rockets made from mailing tubes and fueled by gunpowder mixed with airplane glue. His father was killed in a car accident when he was twelve, and his family was left with no means of support. Not long afterwards, they moved...