What happened on Apollo 13

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Ars Technica has a long article in honor of the anniversary of the Apollo 13 by writer Lee Hutchinson, giving background to the famous accident that the movie (and books that I’ve read about the space program) omitted: “45 years after Apollo 13: Ars looks at what went wrong and why. I’ve never read such a clear account of why the oxygen tank exploded.

And the real moral of the story:

For Apollo 13, keeping calm and working the problems as they appeared allowed three astronauts to escape unharmed from a complex failure. The NASA mindset of simulate, simulate, simulate meant that when things did go wrong, even something of the magnitude of the Apollo 13 explosion, there was always some kind of contingency plan worked out in advance. Controllers had a good gut-level feel for the limits of the spacecraft’s systems when trying to work through emergency problems.