Due to illness, Apollo 13 flew to the moon in 1970 without him. After an explosion on board, he rescued his comrades from the ground. Thomas K. died. Mattingly is now 87 years old.
American astronaut Thomas K. Mattingly, who involuntarily became a savior on the ill-fated Apollo 13 space mission, has died. “TK” Mattingly died on October 31 at the age of 87, NASA announced on Thursday.
Bill Nelson, a NASA representative, explained that Mattingly was assigned as a command module pilot for the Apollo 13 lunar mission in 1970, but he had to cancel the flight 72 hours before takeoff due to illness.
After an explosion occurred on board a spacecraft that was traveling to the Moon without him, Mattingly developed a method of providing energy from Earth that would allow the spacecraft to safely return to the atmosphere. In doing so, Mattingly may have saved the lives of fellow astronauts James Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise.
Lots of knowledge “outside space”
This event was depicted in the 1995 movie “Apollo 13”, in which American actor Gary Sinise played Mattingly.
Mattingly began his career as a pilot in the U.S. Navy before joining the astronaut class in 1966. Nelson said Mattingly’s contribution owes humanity a lot of knowledge “outside of space.”