Sunday, August 3, 2014

Apollo 13: Grumman Sends Rockwell "Towing Bill"

On April 11, 1970 the seventh manned mission in the American space program, Apollo 13, launched with the intention to land on the moon. On April 13 an explosion in the oxygen tanks crippled the service module, damaging the Command Module. Their journey back to Earth had been achieved using the Lunar landing Module as an impromptu "life raft", towing the crippled Command Service Module (CSM) behind it for some 400,000 miles.

Due to the incredible ingenuity of the astronauts and the crew on the ground, Apollo 13 was brought back safely and the mission has since been called a “successful failure.”

Afterward, the engineers at Grumman Aerospace Corporation, builder of the mission's Lunar Landing Module prepared a tongue-in-cheek "Towing Bill" addressed to Rockwell, builders of the crippled CSM.

Copy of the Towing Bill -- Click to Enlarge

  • Towing, $4.00 first mile, $1.00 each additional mile, Trouble call, fast service. 
  • Battery Charge (road call + $.05KWH) customer’s jumper cables 
  • oxygen at $10.00/lb 
  • sleeping accommodations for 2, no TV, prepaid air-conditioned, with radio, modified American plan, with view (contract NAS-9-1100) 
  • Additional guest in room at $8.00/night. (1) Check out no later than noon Fri. 4/17/70, accommodations not guaranteed beyond that time 
  • water (no charge) 
  • Personalized “trip-tik”, including all no charge transfers, baggage handling, and gratuities
= $312,421.24 (after allowing a 20% early payment discount and a 2% cash discount).

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