Page last updated at 17:35 GMT, Monday, 8 March 2010

World Tonight archive: Apollo 13 mission 'a mud pie'

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To mark its 40th anniversary The World Tonight has been going through the archives for key moments.

The first one comes from the programme's second week on air, when Apollo 13 was crippled on its way to the moon.

It suffered a catastrophic failure after an explosion in the Service Module's oxygen tanks caused a loss of electrical power and failure of both oxygen tanks. The crew and mission control had to improvise to get them home.

Two days after the accident, on 15 April, 1970, The World Tonight spoke to one of the first Americans in space, Walter Schirra, who told presenter Douglas Stuart that Nasa had prepared and trained the crew to cope with the unexpected.

The World Tonight is broadcast on Radio 4 at 2200 GMT, Monday to Friday.

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