Apollo 13 crew celebrates 51st anniversary of miraculous splashdown landing

Saturday marked 51 years since Apollo 13’s miraculous splashdown in the South Pacific Ocean.  Their 1970 mission to the moon quickly transformed into one of survival, after an oxygen tank exploded.

Astronauts Jim Lovell and Fred Haise visited Space Center Houston Saturday for the 51st anniversary.  Members of mission control were also there for the unveiling of a new statue honoring the 1970 mission.

"It tells a story of the cooperation of NASA and the space industry," said Lovell.

NASA had already successfully completed 2 missions to the moon when things went terribly wrong during Apollo 13.

"I was still disappointed for quite some time after the mission, that we had not made the landing," said Haise.

After the explosion in space, mission control in Houston feverishly worked to safely get all 3 astronauts home alive.

"The 13 mission was probably one of the best examples America has ever seen of crisis management," said Gene Kranz from mission control.

"The greatest feeling was when water splashed over the window," said Lovell.  "I looked over at Fred and said hey, I think we made it."

Although Haise never got to stand on the moon, he says he no longer feels disappointed.

"Looking back on Apollo 13, I really feel not disappointed now," said Haise.  "I feel very fortunate now to have been a part of it."