Ken Mattingly, an astronaut who is best remembered for his efforts on the ground that helped bring the damaged Apollo 13 spacecraft safely back to Earth, has died, NASA announced. He was 87.
NASA didn’t mention where or how Mattingly died. However, The New York Times reported that Mattingly died in Arlington, Virginia.
A former Navy pilot, Mattingly joined NASA in 1966. He helped with development of the spacesuit and backpack for the Apollo moon missions, NASA said.
In later years, Mattingly commanded two space shuttle missions and retired from the agency and the Navy as a rear admiral.
In 1970, Mattingly was supposed to have joined the crew of Apollo 13, piloting the command module. But he was removed from the mission a few days before launch after being exposed to German measles.
Several days into the mission, an oxygen tank on the spacecraft’s service module exploded, knocking out most of the power and oxygen to the command module. The lunar landing was scrapped and NASA began frantic efforts to save Swigert, James Lovell and Fred Haise.
Astronaut Thomas Kenneth ‘Ken’ Mattingly II celebrates the successful rescue of the Apollo 13 spacecraft and crew with a box of cigars at the Mission Control of the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, Texas, following the aborted lunar landing missi
The trio of astronauts eventually crowded into the lander, which was designed for only two, and used it as a lifeboat for four days as Apollo 13 swung around the moon and then landed safely on Earth.
Apollo 13’s story was told in the 1994 book “Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13,” co-authored by Lovell, and in the 1995 movie “Apollo 13,” where Gary Sinise played Mattingly.