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The demand for our virtual Wright Brothers Memorial Banquet presentation overwhelmed our website. We knew it would be popular, and we thought our servers were up to the task, but we clearly miscalculated.
We’re so sorry to have disappointed so many of you, and so grateful for your patience as our team worked to troubleshoot and overcome the problems with the site.
In an effort to make up for these technical issues, we are thrilled to release an updated version of our 2020 Wright Brothers Memorial Banquet presentation with Capt. Jim Lovell. This bonus edition includes a wealth of additional content celebrating our aerospace history, including exclusive interviews with NASA notables like astronaut Frank Borman and legendary flight director Gene Kranz. We hope you enjoy the presentation!
Captain James Lovell, EAA 320945, was born in 1928 in Cleveland, Ohio, but grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Spurred by his childhood interests in rocketry and model aviation, he attended the U.S. Naval Academy and, after graduation in 1952, reported to NAS Pensacola for flight training. After a tour flying McDonnell F2H Banshee fighters off of the USS Shangri-La (CV38), he went to test pilot school at NAS Patuxent River. In 1962 he applied for and was accepted into the second group of U.S. astronauts. The Mercury astronauts were known as the "Original Seven," while Lovell and his peers became the "New Nine."
Lovell's first space mission was as the pilot of Gemini 7, which was commanded by fellow EAA member Frank Borman, EAA Lifetime 300174. They spent a record-breaking two weeks together inside a spacecraft that was described as being the "size of a Volkswagen Bug." Lovell's next mission was as commander of Gemini 12, in which he and Buzz Aldrin worked on extravehicular activities (EVA) and docking.
In December 1968, Lovell flew as the command module pilot alongside Borman and Bill Anders on Apollo 8, orbiting the moon in the first manned launch of the massive Saturn V. Lovell planned to return to the moon in April 1970, as the commander of Apollo 13.
With his crewmates Fred Haise and Jack Swigert (a last-minute replacement for Ken Mattingly, who'd caught the measles), the mission was planned to include a landing in the Fra Mauro Highlands on the lunar surface. Three days into the mission, an explosion severely damaged the spacecraft, and changed history in the process. Working hand-in-hand with mission control, the crew and their earthbound counterparts heroically improvised a brilliant and safe return to Earth. Apollo 13 went down in history as NASA's most successful failure.
Captain Lovell is a proud EAA member and strong supporter of our programs.