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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, 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," the mission faced a number of life-threatening obstacles, 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," named after the famous line uttered first by Apollo 13 astronaut Jack Swigert, 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 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

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 and Fred Haise, 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 Gohd

Chelsea Gohd joined as an intern in the summer of 2018 and returned as a Staff Writer in 2019. After receiving a B.S. in Public Health, she worked as a science communicator at the American Museum of Natural History. Chelsea has written for publications including Scientific American, Discover Magazine Blog, Astronomy Magazine, Live Science, All That is Interesting, AMNH Microbe Mondays blog, The Daily Targum and Roaring Earth. When not writing, reading or following the latest space and science discoveries, Chelsea is writing music, singing, playing guitar and performing with her band Foxanne (@foxannemusic). You can follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd. 

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