Jim Lovell will be receiving the Guild Award of Honour
Captain James Arthur Lovell is the only man to have flown to the moon twice without landing on it. His experiences on Apollo 8 helped paved the way for Neil Armstrong’s first step, and his coolness under pressure gave us the phrase that is known world wide: “Houston, we have a problem.”
A US Navy night fighter pilot, flying in the McDonnell F2H Banshee, Captain Lovell graduated at the top of his test pilot course and was accepted as an astronaut within the Gemini programme. He piloted Gemini 7 when it accomplished the first space rendezvous ever in 1965, and as Command Pilot on Gemini 12 he docked with another spacecraft manually after the rendezvous radar failed.
In 1968 Jim Lovell, along with Frank Borman and Bill Anders in Apollo 8, became the first people to leave the orbit of earth. As the navigator Captain Lovell used a sextant to measure the spacecraft’s position and calculate mid-course corrections.
On 11 April 1970 Apollo landed Lovell and Fred Haise on the Moon with Jack Swigert to pilot the service module. However an oxygen tank explosion damaged the spacecraft over 200,000 miles from Earth, threatening to maroon the three men in space. Through the courage of Jim Lovell and his crew, improvising under extreme conditions a huge catastrophe was averted and Apollo 13 returned to Earth safely.
Jim and many other inspiring people – including military aircrew, test pilots, flying instructors, private pilots and newly qualified trainees – will be recieving rewards from the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators at London’s medieval Guildhall on Wednesday 23 October 2013.