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The Top 10 Coolest Astronauts Ever

By Becky Ferreira Apr 23, 2013

6 of 11

Jim Lovell

Since we're on a kick of astronauts who demonstrated tremendous grace under pressure, let's honor Jim Lovell, commander of the infamous Apollo 13 mission. Lovell was already one of the most accomplished astronauts in the world by the time he was assigned to command Apollo 13, having piloted Apollo 8 in the first circumlunar voyage, as well as sharing the Gemini 12 mission with Buzz Aldrin. But his dreams of being the 5th man to walk on the moon were dashed when a huge fuel tank explosion occurred two days into Apollo 13's voyage. The mission suddenly became about basic survival. Using the moon as a gravitational slingshot, Lovell led his crew back to Earth safely. Apollo 13 came to be known as the "successful failure," as NASA's ground team and the flight crew worked together tirelessly against seemingly insurmountable odds just to bring the men home. Though Lovell never got to walk on the moon, a lunar crater now bears his name.

Tags: slideshows, life, space, nasa, space shuttle, the international space station, astronauts, space walk

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About the Author
Becky Ferreira

Becky Ferreira is a writer, performer, and raptor based in New York.

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