USA 1970 Apollo 13

Apollo 13 was the third lunar landing mission in the American Apollo space program. The flight was commanded by James A. Lovell with John L. "Jack" Swigert as Command Module Pilot and Fred W. Haise as Lunar Module Pilot.

Apollo 13 launch cover with a KSC handcancel postmark.

Launched on April 11, 1970, the mission was soon aborted after an oxygen tank exploded two days later, crippling the Service Module (SM) upon which the Command Module (CM) depended.


"Houston, we've had a problem..." - Swigert and Lovell reported the service module explosion incident at 9:08 pm on Apr 13, 1970.

Ken Mattingly was originally slated to be the Command Module Pilot. Seven days before launch, Charles Duke contracted German measles from one of his children. This exposed both prime and backup crews, who trained together. Mattingly was found to be the only one of the other five who had not had German measles as a child and thus was not immune. Three days before launch, at the insistence of the Flight Surgeon, Swigert was moved to the prime crew. Mattingly never contracted the German measles.

Apollo 13 crew (include Ken Mattingly) signed on this cover that was postmarked Houston Apr 14, 1970.



Signed by Eugene Kranz, who directed the Mission Control team to save the Apollo 13 crew.

Signed by James Lovell.

Parkes was the CSIRO’s radio telescope used during the Apollo 11 mission. It was originally not committed to the Apollo 13 mission. When the explosion occurred, Mission Control in Houston needed Parkes watching the spacecraft. More than 1,000 experts around Australia worked through the night to assist in setting up Parkes so it could receive weak signals from Apollo 13 and relay them to Houston. NASA’s three Apollo tracking stations in Australia – Honeysuckle Creek, Tidbinbilla and Carnarvon, successfully maintained the link with Apollo 13. The addition of the Parkes telescope allowed the control centre to receive 20% more data from Apollo 13.

Despite great hardship caused by limited power, loss of cabin heat, shortage of potable water, and the critical need to jury-rig the carbon dioxide removal system, the crew returned safely to Earth on April 17.

Apollo 13 prime recovery ship USS Iwo Jima postmark on a Beck printed cachet cover.

This Beck printed cachet cover has a postmark with "USS Iwo Jima" that appears on the top.

USS Iwo Jima prime recovery ship cover signed by the Apollo 13 crew.


Unusual postmark 10 Apr, 1970 on Apollo 13 Artopages cover.

Apollo 13 Artopages cover postmarked with the recovery date 17 Apr, 1970. Cover signed by the Prime Recovery Helicopter #66 crew - pilot C. B. Smiley, co-pilot D. G. McCarthy and crewman Ralph Slider. Insert signed by Supply Officer, E. V. Rinehart.