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This vintage NASA Apollo 13 documentary takes you back to the iconic moon mission

Apollo 13 astronauts Jack Swigert, Jim Lovell and Fred Haise seen with a model of their capsule on April 10, 1970, the day before they launched.
Apollo 13 astronauts Jack Swigert, Jim Lovell and Fred Haise seen with a model of their capsule on April 10, 1970, the day before they launched. (Image credit: NASA)

Fifty years after Apollo 13 (opens in new tab), a vintage documentary from the National Archives takes us back to one of the most iconic human spaceflight missions of all time. 

Remembered as a "successful failure (opens in new tab)," the mission faced a number of life-threatening obstacles (opens in new tab), including an oxygen tank explosion 56 hours into the mission and increasing carbon dioxide levels in the lunar module that the astronauts used as a life raft. The astronauts and NASA Mission Control back on Earth had to work quickly and creatively to save the crew and prevent complete disaster. 

This documentary, "Apollo 13: Houston, We've Got a Problem (opens in new tab)," named after the famous line uttered first by Apollo 13 astronaut Jack Swigert (opens in new tab), is comprised of archival footage from the mission. 

Related: See Apollo 13 as it happened with Apollo 13 in Real Time

You can see a full version here (opens in new tab) or watch part 1 below.

Created by the National Archives and Records Administration, this documentary "emphasizes the Mission Control and spacecraft teamwork that overcame the life-or-death problems of Apollo 13, as well as the worldwide reaction to the crisis," according to the National Archives (opens in new tab)

You can watch part 2 below.

In this film, you can hear and see not only the real moments from the mission but also interviews with the astronauts after the mission. 

For instance, you can hear Swigert talking about the vibrations he felt when the crew heard the loud "bang" of the oxygen-tank explosion. The film captures the tense emotions and tenuous circumstances that these teams fought through to get Swigert and his crewmembers, commander Jim Lovell (opens in new tab) and Fred Haise (opens in new tab), home safely.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 13 mission, NASA created a new documentary on the flight. Called "Apollo 13: Home Safe," the 30-minute program looks back at Apollo 13, its legacy and its lessons for future moon missions. You can watch that in its entirety below. 

Follow Chelsea Gohd on Twitter @chelsea_gohd. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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Chelsea “Foxanne” Gohd joined Space.com in 2018 and is now a Senior Writer, writing about everything from climate change to planetary science and human spaceflight in both articles and on-camera in videos. With a degree in Public Health and biological sciences, Chelsea has written and worked for institutions including the American Museum of Natural History, Scientific American, Discover Magazine Blog, Astronomy Magazine and Live Science. When not writing, editing or filming something space-y, Chelsea "Foxanne" Gohd is writing music and performing as Foxanne, even launching a song to space in 2021 with Inspiration4. You can follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd and @foxannemusic.