Space Rocket History #303 – Apollo 14 – Commander Alan B. Shepard Jr. – Part 3

After the Mercury-Atlas 10 mission was canceled, Shepard was designated as the Commander of the first crewed Gemini mission, with Thomas P. Stafford chosen as his pilot.

One thought on “Space Rocket History #303 – Apollo 14 – Commander Alan B. Shepard Jr. – Part 3

  1. It is true that Lovell must have felt gutted at missing his chance to land on the Moon due to fate’s hand in Apollo 13’s destiny, allowing Shepard to land in Apollo 14. However, he took part in the trailblazing Apollo 8 and served his nation and humankind magnificently. Whenever I think of the hand of fate in this story I always think that Shepard really deserved his chance to have a crack at the Moon too and one further thing strikes me and gives me the chills.
    When you trust in fate and wish fate could have been kinder, I always think of the fact that the ascent engine of the LM could never be tested before use, granted that it was deemed pretty reliable. Even so , Nixon had a speech ready prepared in the event of it’s failure and the stranding of Armstrong and Aldrin on the Moon., so it was not a given that it would work flawlessly and the astronauts were brave men indeed to trust their lives to it. All of the ascent engines that were fired in Apollo lit ok, even the one in Apollo 9, which was safely in Earth orbit. The only ascent engine that wasn’t ignited was that of Apollo 13, I think I am right in saying?
    Of course , we would only hope that it performed as it should and got Lovell and crew off the Moon ok,had the explosion never happened, but we can never know 100%
    It would have been a terrible double twist of fate for Apollo 13 and I can’t bear even thinking about the “what if” here. What if Apollo 13 mission control had test fired it remotely and found it not to ignite, what can have been the long term psychological effects on the crew? Some things are best not known!