Corrected entry: Jim Lovell tells his son that it will take him and his crew 4 days to get to the moon, but when the crew is getting their pictures taken by the media the journalist says Apollo 13 is expected to enter the moon's gravity in April 13, only two days after liftoff on April 11. So where is Lovell getting this 4 days figure from?
Corrected entry: When Lovell is imagining walking on the moon, he looks at the Earth, which is near the horizon. The Earth is far too large (or too close) in the shot, something he would have known as he had seen Earth from the moon on Apollo 8 while they orbited (and took that famous Earthrise photo).
Corrected entry: In the scene just before everyone at the Lovell's residence watches the moon landing on television, Pete Conrad explains how he appreciates everyone coming to his dress rehearsal party for his Apollo 12 landing. In the shot just before he says this you can see Jim Lovell with a cigar in his mouth, but as the shot changes from a wide angle to Pete Conrad speaking you can hear Jim Lovell saying "Oh, sit down Conrad!" How can he be speaking so or at all with a large cigar in his mouth?
Corrected entry: The film features a portable cassette player. The first commercial portable cassette player (The Sony Walkman TPS-L2) wasn't released until July 1, 1979, 9 years after the Apollo 13 mission.
Corrected entry: When he finds out he is being bumped to the Apollo 13 crew, Lovell is giving a tour at the vehicle assembly building at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. In the next scene, he runs into his house, which seems to be in Houston - over 1000 miles away - to announce that he's going to the Moon in April, then races off to get back to training. It seems like an awfully long commute.
Corrected entry: In the scenes where all three astronauts are wearing their space suits, they all have a red collar on the helmet and red markings on suits. The LEM pilot (in this case Fred Haise) would have blue markings and a blue collar so that Houston (and others) could distinguish between the Commander and the LEM pilot when they were on the moon.
Corrected entry: When Deke tells Lovell that Mattingly will have to be removed from the flight, he says that if Lovell is unwilling to go with Swigert, the entire crew will be bumped to a later mission. Even if this really had been Lovell's decision to make (which it almost certainly wasn't in real life), there is no way that all three astronauts could have been bumped to a later mission. Even if the entire backup crew could have been brought up to speed in a week, they could not have flown Apollo 13, given that Charlie Duke (Fred Haise's backup as LEM pilot) had the measles.
Corrected entry: When the astronauts and their families gather around the television to watch the Apollo 11 moon landing, Neil Armstrong is shown on the TV set coming down the ladder normally, top to bottom of the screen. In the actual historical event, the network's TV feed was upside down, with Armstrong appearing to ascend from bottom to top. The surface of the moon appeared at the top of the screen. Moments later, the network corrected the feed.
Corrected entry: In the television interview, when the expert is describing the tolerance requirements for re-entry angle, he asks the reader to imagine that the earth is a basketball and the moon is a softball, and that the two balls are 14 feet apart, which is about 16.8 times the diameter of a basketball. The distance from the earth to the moon is about 30.14 times the diameter of the earth. This means that the 14 feet should really have been about 25 feet. Finally, the expert says that the re-entry angle has to be accurate to within 2.5 degrees, which he says is like aiming for a target the thickness of a sheet of paper. 2.5 degrees at 30 feet is actually about 13.14 inches thick (even at 14 feet, 2.5 degrees is about 7.34 inches).qwer5r
Corrected entry: When Ken Mattingly is watching the launch from a field, he is seen next to a gold and black corvette. The gold and black corvette was a paint scheme chosen for the astrovette which was leased to the Apollo 12 mission crew for a dollar for a year. There were three of these cars, leased to astronauts Pete Conrad, Richard F. Gordon, Jr., and Alan Bean, not Ken Mattingly.
Corrected entry: When Jim comes home to inform his family that he is going to the moon, his teenage daughter comes out of her room to ask is she can wear her particular Halloween costume. Jim eventually says no, and she retreats into her room and the door slams shut. Jim walks to the door and the camera angle changes and you can see that the door is still open.
Corrected entry: Near the end, from one window of the spacecraft you can see a full moon. From the other window, there is a "full Earth." If you're between the moon and the Earth, one or the other would not be full. The sun does not go between the moon and the Earth. (If it did, we would not exist.).
Corrected entry: After Jack Lousma's recommendation to stir the oxygen tanks, Swigert is seen flipping two switches to start the stir that causes the "problem". However, there is a mistake here. Anyone who is familiar with the Command Module Cockpit and Instrument Panel knows that you stir the O2 tanks by flipping the "O2 FANS" to the on position, while Swigert is seen flipping them off. What he has done is disengaged the cryo stir fans, not started them.
Corrected entry: Right before the ship loses radio contact and goes behind the moon, a wide shot shows the ship heading behind the moon. In this shot, the ship casts a shadow into space which can be seen just above the ship. There is nothing nearby onto which a shadow could be cast, any debris from the explosion would be travelling off into space at high velocity in all directions.
Corrected entry: The consoles used in the movie were the actual consoles that were in the second and third floor MOCR (Mission Operations Control Room). The goose neck reading lamps did not exist, however. The shots of the hallways outside the MOCR in Building 30 were not authentic. Also, during the first two days of the disaster, the hallways on the second floor were lined with student chairs where programmers were working on the various scenarios for return and reentry.Ron Howard's dedication to accuracy is amazing because the information on the displays in Mission Control was authentic in format, the switch legends on the consoles were labels as they would have been and even the lights on the Keysets (the communication consoles with the telephone dial) were accurate in their color coding and in the flashing light indicating that a "talk loop" was active (monitor-only circuits were illuminated but not flashing).Virtuiso
Corrected entry: During Jim Lovell's daydream of being on the moon, when Jim steps onto the Lunar Module landing pad, it wobbles quite freely. This shouldn't move as the Lunar Module would be solidly on the Moon's surface and the weight from the rest of the module would be pushing it into the surface.bladesman_joe
Corrected entry: At the bottom, right hand corner of the screen there is an opening on the set, where one of the crew members can be seen and it is cold, as you can also see his breath.
Corrected entry: When Jim's wife has a nightmare about the mission going horribly wrong, she wakes up suddenly and there is a closeup of a brown eye looking around frantically. The actress has blue eyes in the rest of the film.
Corrected entry: Steven Spielberg wanted to make this movie. But the initial idea was to shoot it in outer space - extremely expensive and very risky, so he declined. Wonder how it would have turned out.
Corrected entry: When Swigert is being brought up to speed in the simulator (the re-entry simulation with the false indicator light), the Capcom announces loss of signal, but a few seconds later (right after the corridor light), the astronauts are talking to Houston again. (Note: this is far too soon for them to have come out of the blackout, since, according to the end of the movie, the blackout usually lasts around three minutes.)
Corrected entry: When Marilyn has the nightmare about Jim's mission meeting disaster, the Capcom says, "We show S4B shutdown," and then a few seconds later says, "when you get in the LEM." This makes no sense, because S4B (Saturn 4B Booster) shutdown happens before the LEM is even docked (and days before anybody would actually get in the LEM). Granted, it's a dream, but Marilyn Lovell was actually fairly knowledgeable about the way lunar missions worked, and you'd think that if she could dream everything else correctly (the layout of the capsule, for instance), she (or the filmmakers) would get that detail correct.
Corrected entry: When Jim Lovell is talking to his son about landing on the moon, he says his moon landing will be "Better than Neil Armstrong; way better than Pete Conrad." In fact, while Armstrong did make a less-than-stellar landing (hampered by low fuel and a problem with his targeting computer), Pete Conrad's Apollo 12 landing was nearly perfect.
Corrected entry: During the launch countdown, the voice-over says "7.6.ignition sequence starts.3.2.1." The sequence is supposed to be in real time, but "6" and 3" are only about a second apart.
Corrected entry: When the astronauts are preparing to dock with the Lunar Module, one of the people in Mission Control says, "If Swigert can't dock this thing, we don't have a mission." In fact, all three crew members were trained to peform the LEM docking, and had Swigert run into any trouble, Lovell or Haise could easily have done the procedure instead. This is confirmed in the DVD commentary.
Corrected entry: The scene showing the astronauts thrust towards the forward panels, and then violently back into their 'couches' is meant to show the massive thrust from the ascent and second stage engines. In fact, this sequence is inaccurate: The earlier Mercury and Gemini rockets did indeed create this massive 10 to 15-G load momentarily upon the astronauts, but the Saturn V did no such thing. The Saturn V never exceeded more than 2 Gs during any portion of lift off or ascent, and was in fact referred to as the "old man's rocket" by astronauts in reference to its relatively mild G-loads during flight.
Corrected entry: Many times in the movie, the Capcom refers to the CM and LM by their individual call signs, "Odyssey" and "Aquarius." In real life, those call signs would only be used when the LM had separated from the CM for a lunar landing. While the two ships were docked, as they were in this case for the entire mission, the single call sign "Apollo 13" would be used instead.
Corrected entry: In the shot where Jim is with Marilyn, outside of their house right after the Apollo 11 landing, he blocks out the moon with his thumb. In the final shot, where he puts his finger in front of his face to hide out the moon again, you can see the shadow below his chest. It should be on his eye.
Corrected entry: At the meeting where Jim Lovell is informed that Ken Mattingly has been exposed to measles, and must be replaced by Command Module backup pilot Jack Swigert, Lovell complains about the last minute switch and says, "When's the last time he was in a simulator?" But Lovell eventually agrees, Swigert is put into service for Apollo 13, and he proceeds to intensify his training schedule. In one later scene he's shown in a simulator, being rather rusty and out of practice. But in an earlier scene, before the measles scene, the whole Apollo 13 backup crew, including Jack, were shown arriving at the simulator for practice. In reality, as a member of the backup crew, Swigert was in constant training and would not have even been considered were he unable to pilot the spacecraft.
Corrected entry: During liftoff, one of the five second stage engines fails. This is indicated by a shot of the control panel, and one of the five indicator lights is flashing with a buzzer going off loudly in time with the flashing light. In fact engine failures were indicated by having a light simply go out, and there was no buzzer. Director Ron Howard originally shot the scene accurately, having a light just turn off was visually uninteresting and did not convey the drama of an engine failure. After getting the OK from Astronaut and technical advisor Dave Scott, the more dramatic indication was used.
Corrected entry: In the scene where Tom Hanks' wife is in the shower and drops her wedding ring down the drain, when she bends down to try and catch it, you can see the stick-on bra and light green underwear she is wearing for modesty purposes. Hard to catch it in full speed, but try frame by frame. Guess she (or director Ron Howard) didn't want to take any chances of nudity getting into the film.
Corrected entry: At the beginning, when they are discussing the Apollo 1 fire in January 1967, they state that 18 months after the fire Apollo 11 lands on the moon. In actuality, it is 30 months (2 1/2 years) after the fire that Apollo 11 lands on the moon.
Corrected entry: At one point on the return to Earth when they're about to make another burn, Lovell (Tom Hanks) looks out the window to his left at a stream of smoke or gas flowing by. At the left bottom corner a hand of the crew or someone outside of the ship is quickly noticeable, but even more so when you watch the scene in slow motion. The hand moves slightly, then quickly moves from the window as if the crew member realised what he was doing.
Corrected entry: In the scene where the media is asking about the CO2 problem, Deke Slayton is sitting to the right of the NASA director, but at the same time mission control is telling the astronauts how to make the filter and when they finish you can see him patting one of the guys on the back. Somehow he is in both places at once.
Corrected entry: At the beginning of the film Walter Cronkite is narrating "a mere 18 months after the tragedy of Apollo 1..." The Apollo 1 tragedy occurred 27 Jan 67, while the moon landing of Apollo 11 occurred 20 July 69. The two events are actually separated by a little less than 30 months.
Corrected entry: As the spacecraft nears Earth the men in Mission Control remark that its angle of approach continues to wander away from plan. They figure out that it's due to the absence of the originally planned mass of moon rocks. This is wrong in several ways. First, it could not wander off course while coasting due only to the vehicle mass. From the time of Galileo it's been known that objects fall with equal acceleration (at a given distance) regardless of mass. Indeed, if that were the reason then the mass difference would not just be a lack of moon rocks, but also the extra unplanned mass of the entire lunar module. The actual reason was simply the slow leaking of gases from the damaged vehicle, acting as a low thrust rocket motor pushing it sideways.
Corrected entry: In the very beginning when we see Apollo 1 on the pad, astronauts Grissom, White, and Chaffee get in and there is a fire. In the film, the fire is started by a button they press, but in reality the investigation concluded that the most likely cause was a spark from a short circuit in a bundle of wires that ran to the left and just in front of Grissom's seat.
Corrected entry: While Lovell is shown in the film using the Earth as a point of reference, Lovell actually used the sun.
Corrected entry: Okay, it's an accepted science fiction convention, but "Apollo 13" is supposed to be an authoritive, documentary-style film about a failed NASA mission, not a Buck Rogers space opera. So did there really have to be sound in space in this film?
Corrected entry: When Gary Sinese is trying to figure up a power-up checklist for the command module, there is talk there is not enough power. Two men yell that it is four amps. This is discussed in the book, and it was not four amps, it was more like thirty. The power loss was caused by an automatic system that tapped the reentry batteries in case of main power failure in the service module. I assume this was changed to four amps to heighten the emotional strain (four amps is more critical than thirty.).
Corrected entry: Just after the explosion, there is a shot of Odyssey's instrument panel with the mission timer reading 91 hours and 34 minutes. The accident occurred around 56 hours into the flight. The next time the mission timer is seen, it reflects the proper time.
Corrected entry: When they're approaching re-entry, the people at mission control are blaming the shallowing of the trajectory on the lack of moon rocks. In real life, the shallowing of the trajectory was caused not by lack of rocks but by steam venting from the LEM's cooling system, as the book correctly points out.
Corrected entry: The explosion was not actually felt by the crew but in the film we see them thrown about in the cabin.
Corrected entry: In several shots where the Apollo capsule is shown traveling through space, the shadow of it is clearly visible on the starry background.
Corrected entry: The movie is set in 1970 when all telephones in the USA were analogue and had a fixed connection. However, in the movie, the phones used are connected to modular jacks (the kind used everywhere for digital connections and that can be pulled out of the socket).
Corrected entry: As the spacecraft disappears behind the moon you can hear Swigert (Kevin Bacon) saying "see you on the flip side" and a shadow begins to fall across his face. Assuming the spacecraft's attitude wasn't changing at the time, the only way a shadow (presumably of the moon) would have fallen like this would have been if the moon's phase was full or close to full, as seen from earth. The lunar landings were planned for times when the sun was low in the lunar sky, to avoid intense surface heat, thus the moon was usually a crescent as seen from earth.
Corrected entry: When Mattingly is getting ready in the simulator to try re-entry power-up procedures, he asks someone for a flashlight. The person who tries to hand him one starts grabbing for his flashlight before Mattingly asks for it.
Corrected entry: when Marilyn is watching Jim talk about flying with no light in the cockpit, the carpet changes from green shag, to orange shag, and back again.
Corrected entry: During re-entry, Walter Cronkite says on television that the heat shield was damaged in the explosion three days earlier. Apollo 13 splashed down on April 17, and the explosion was on April 13, so it was four days, not three.
Corrected entry: During the TV broadcast, Gene Kranz confirms with the EECOM that the cryo stir will be on both hydrogen and both oxygen tanks. But when the astronauts get the instructions for the stir, it is just on the oxygen tanks. What happened to the hydrogen tanks?
Corrected entry: When the three astronauts travel around the moon, the radio contact breaks down. During this radio silence, they spot their planned landing site, Fra Mauro, on the surface of the moon. Just after this sight, Houston can get in contact with them again. So, only then, the spaceship comes out from behind the moon. But Fra Mauro is on the visible side on the moon, almost in the middle of it. How could the astronauts see Fra Mauro while they were still on the back side of the moon?
Corrected entry: During the launch scene, there is a shot where the plume of flame is going backwards, as if it is going back into the rocket.
Corrected entry: When the astronauts have rounded the moon there is a scene where Houston is helping them to make a blind LM burn, we see Hanks and Paxton at the controls of the LM and Bacon timing them. Well Hanks and Paxton are standing velcro'd to the floor looking out the two large triangular LM windows at a distant earth. Hanks lines up the optical lunar distance rangefinder on the Earths terminator and they fire the engine merrily rocketing off towards the Earth. This is in error, the LM engine is under their feet pointing down and 90 degrees away from the imaginary line between the Moon and Earth. The astronauts should be looking out of the small rectangular docking hatch in the roof of the LM ABOVE their heads because that is where the Earth would be and certainly not out in front of them. Obviously the LM engine is not behind their backs when they fired it but under their feet pointing down so the Earth is opposite the engine and thus above their heads, not in front of them in the nice big movie friendly windows.
Corrected entry: In the scenes at the Lovell's home, as the crew nears re-entry, the priest, (who is wearing Catholic priest clothes), is wearing a wedding ring.
Corrected entry: After the spacecraft has lifted off and is in space, Houston tells the crew to shut down the engines. Just as Hanks says, "that, gentlemen, is how we do that," we see the engine turning off. A couple of scenes later, when we see the spacecraft heading towards the moon (with the moon in the backround), you can see a flame coming out of the engine and once again it shuts down, when it was already turned off.
Corrected entry: At the part where they launch the Saturn 5 rocket the arms go the same direction. The arms are supposed to go one on the left, one on the right and so on. That is because the tower has to be balanced.
Corrected entry: When the Apollo 13 rocket is taking off the arms that hold the rocket in place come off at different times, when they should have come off at the same time or the rocket would have crashed.
Corrected entry: On their way towards decent to Earth, there was a point made about them not being heavy enough, due to not returning "moon rocks". At this point they still have the base of the LEM attached, which is normally left on the moon. I don't know how much this weighs, but wouldn't this counteract any weight issues?
Corrected entry: When Lovell is talking to his wife on Earth about the moon she asks him where is her mountain (Mt Marilyn) He shows her it is near the top right of the moon's face. When he is behind the moon Bill Paxton mentions "There is Mt Marilyn" Then "Look at that Tsiolkovsky crater" Tsiolkovsky is on the far side of the moon so couldn't be anywhere near Mt Marilyn.
Corrected entry: As the Apollo 13 crew is readying to "slingshot" around the back of the moon, burn calculations are being made by Houston which are relayed to the crew. Tom Hanks is calculating total fuel amounts in the various fuel tanks by mathematical addition using a slide rule. You don't add and subtract with a slide rule. You multiply and divide.
Corrected entry: After their slingshot around the back of the moon, the movie's tenseness calms as Tom Hanks turns his head to look out one of the module's windows at the moon, and then turns his head to the other adjacent window to look at a serene view of the earth. The tenseness shouldn't have calmed. If the moon is on one side of you and the earth is on the other ... you're going the wrong way.