The explosion

CNN — On the evening of April 13, 50 years ago, NASA astronauts James Lovell Jr., John Swigert Jr. and Fred Haise Jr. were about to go to sleep for the night in the Apollo 13 command module. They were about 200,000 miles away from Earth on the way to the moon.

Everything was about to change, ultimately forcing the crew to abort their mission.

Here’s what happened, according to newly released interviews with the NASA astronauts.

The explosion

The astronauts had just finished a TV broadcast providing a tour of the lunar module that would land on the moon.

On the ground in Houston’s Mission Control center, Apollo 13 flight director Gene Kranz and his team were about to hand off to another shift.

In audio from the mission, the crew was asked to stir up the liquid oxygen tanks. Swigert flipped a switch.

Then, an explosion crackled over the audio from Apollo 13’s command module. “Houston, we’ve had a problem here,” Lovell said.

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“We heard this loud bang that reverberated with a little echo because the vehicles we’re in were metal,” Haise said in the new NASA d

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