James Arthur Lovell, Jr., (March 25, 1928 - ) was a NASA astronaut who flew on two Gemini missions (Gemini 7 and Gemini 12) orbiting the Earth and also two Apollo trips on which he circled the moon. Lovell was on the first lunar orbit flight, Apollo 8 (1968), and the aborted Apollo 13 mission (1970). Lovell has continued exploring, visiting both the North Pole (April 13, 1987) and South Pole (January, 2000). In 1994, Lovell wrote “Lost Moon,” his account of the Apollo 13 mission.
Lovell was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on March 25, 1928. He attended the University of Wisconsin and received a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Naval Academy (1952). He attended Test Pilot School at the Naval Air Test Center in Patuxent River, Maryland, and then was a test pilot for four years, serving as the program manager for the F4H Phantom Fighter. Lovell completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School in 1971 (after his many NASA missions)
In 1962, Lovell was selected as a NASA astronaut. Lovell flew and Frank Borman commanded the 13.5-day Gemini 7 mission (Dec. 4, 1965 - Dec.18, 1965) which orbited the Earth 206 times. During this mission, they rendezvoused with Gemini 6A (flown by Wally Schirra and Tom Stafford) - this was the first rendezvous of two manned spacecraft.
Lovell commanded the 1966 Gemini 12 mission with pilot Buzz Aldrin. They launched on Nov 11, 1966 and landed on Nov. 15, 1966. This mission included a rendezvous and docking with an Agena satellite and a space walk by Aldrin. The flight was the last of the Gemini missions.
Frank Borman, Lovell, and William A. Anders flew the first manned mission orbiting the moon (December 21-27, 1968) on NASA’s Apollo 8 mission. On this 6-day 3-hour mission, the crew were in lunar orbit for 20 hours (they made 10 orbits) and tested support facilities.
Lovell, John L. Swigert, Jr., and Fred W. Haise, Jr. flew on the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission from April 11-17, 1970. On this 5-day, 22.9-hour trip, the crew was to have attempted the third lunar landing, but the mission was aborted after a service module oxygen tank ruptured on the way to the moon (200,000 miles from Earth). Because of explosions, leaks, or other damage, the mission was critically low on breathable air, electrical power, fuel and water, and many of the spacecraft systems were not operational. The astronauts completed the trip in the small Lunar Module (LM) called Aquarius (which was not designed for the trip back to Earth - it was only designed to leave the Apollo 13 spacecraft in lunar orbit, land on the moon, then take off and rendezvous with the main Apollo 13 spacecraft orbiting the moon). They circled the moon once, and barely made it back to the Earth. The mission was classified as a “successful failure” because the crew was brought back to Earth safely (but dehydrated, since they had run out of water).