Apollo 13

Factual error: When astronauts are wearing their spacesuits before launch, we can see NASA's "snake logo" introduced in 1975, when the plot is happening in 1970. (00:28:29)

Apollo 13 mistake picture

Factual error: During the launch sequence, a car that appears to be from the 1990's is parked in the background. (00:30:15)

RymoMymo

Factual error: During the final voiceover, Jim Lovell says "Fred Haise was going back to the moon on Apollo 18, but his mission never flew." In reality, it was Apollo 19, not 18, that Haise was tentatively chosen to command.

Factual error: The remaining smoke plume after the Saturn V liftoff is about 80 miles too low. It's apparent that an aircraft flew over the space center to leave a feeble 'movie' plume. Also, when the Apollo 13 crew blasts out of Earth orbit, the ship is pointed straight at the Moon, meaning that once they travelled the 240,000 miles to the Moon's orbit path, the Moon would be several thousand miles to their left.

Nicki

Factual error: Hanks as Lovell drives a red corvette. The real Lovell has said in interviews he drove a blue corvette.

Vader47000

Factual error: As Lovell explains the Apollo 1 fire to his son (in 1967), a large RC model aircraft can be seen over the child's shoulder. The N-Number (tail number) for FAA registration is N1976M. The particular aircraft represented on screen is a Cessna 182P - which according to FAA records - wasn't built until 1976. (00:14:50)

Factual error: When Marilyn is talking to NASA on the phone, the phone has a modular connector in the handset. This would be fairly impossible since AT&T did not start installing them in houses until 1976. Prior to that they would have been hardwired. (01:03:40)

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Suggested correction: From Wikipedia: The first types of small modular telephone connectors were created by AT&T in the mid-1960s for the plug-in handset.

Suggested correction: A friend of mine had modular phone jacks in her house in the early 70s. I don't know if she had them as early as 1970 but definitely before 1976.

Factual error: At the end of the movie, when the astronauts debark from the helicopter and are surrounded by the crew of the U.S.S. Iwo Jima, there are a number of junior enlisted men wearing combination caps. (The type worn by Chief Petty Officers and commissioned officers.) That they are junior enlisted men is obvious by the rank insignia on their left sleeves and by the silver USN and Eagle emblem on their caps. (Chief's caps have a large gold and silver anchor insignia, and officer's caps have a large gold officer's crest.) The U.S. Navy did, for a few years, replace the junior enlisted men's traditional white hat with the combination cap, but the change was not announced until 1972, two years after the Apollo 13 mission, and the Navy reverted to white hats in 1983, twelve years before the movie was made.

mdwalker

Factual error: On July 20, 1969, the moon phase was waxing crescent. In the movie, on the eve of the moon landing, the moon is shown in waxing gibbous phase when Lovell (Hanks) covers the moon with his thumb. (00:06:02)

Factual error: Technician John Aaron states that the damaged ship will need to use "less amps than this" as he points to a vintage 'Mr. Coffee' coffee-maker on his desk. Mr. Coffee was not introduced until 1972.

More mistakes in Apollo 13

Marilyn Lovell: Naturally, it's 13. Why 13?
Jim Lovell: It comes after 12, hon.

More quotes from Apollo 13

Trivia: The Apollo 13 mission set a record for the greatest distance from Earth ever achieved by mankind. This occurred because unlike the other Apollos, Apollo 13 did not make a burn behind the moon to drop into lunar orbit. The free-return trajectory the mission followed took the spacecraft farther behind the moon than any other mission.

More trivia for Apollo 13

Question: Why did the Apollo 13 spacecraft need a parachute? They were landing on water not solid ground. It's easier to survive a fall when landing on water, so why would they need a parachute if they were landing on water?

Answer: Spacecraft re-enter Earth's atmosphere at extremely high velocity (thousands of miles per hour). Atmospheric friction slows the spacecraft descent somewhat; but, without parachutes, the Apollo spacecraft would still reach the surface traveling at hundreds of miles per hour. Landing in water at such high speed would be like hitting concrete, which would of course be instantly fatal. Hence the necessity of multiple parachutes. The Apollo program (and all early U.S. manned space programs) chose to land in the ocean for two reasons: 1) It was easier to track spacecraft re-entry from horizon-to-horizon at sea without visual and radar obstacles, and; 2) It was faster and easier to position several Navy vessels in the general splashdown location, then deploy helicopters to rapidly retrieve the astronauts and their spacecraft.

Charles Austin Miller

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