Apollo 13 Landing Site


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The mission was launched at the planned time, 02:13:00 PM EST (19:13:00 UTC) on April 11. An anomaly occurred when the second-stage, center (inboard) engine shut down about two minutes early. The four outboard engines and the third-stage engine burned longer to compensate, and the vehicle achieved very close to the planned circular 100 nautical miles (190 km) parking orbit, followed by a normal translunar injection about two hours later. The engine shutdown was determined to be caused by severe pogo oscillations measured at a strength of 68 g and a frequency of 16 hertz, flexing the thrust frame by 3 inches (76 mm). The vehicle's guidance system shut the engine down in response to sensed thrust chamber pressure fluctuations. Pogo oscillations had been seen on previous Titan rockets, and also on the Saturn V during Apollo 6, but on Apollo 13, they were amplified by an unexpected interaction with turbopump cavitation. Later missions implemented anti-pogo modifications that had been under development. These included addition of a helium-gas reservoir to the center engine liquid oxygen line to damp pressure oscillations, an automatic cutoff as a backup, and simplification of the propellant valves of all five second-stage engines.