Eighteen months ago, I was combing through the Apollo 11 mission logs, looking at the timelines and events for something unique that we might focus on to celebrate the 50th anniversary of humankind’s first landing on the moon. Last year, that idea became the BBC World Service podcast 13 Minutes to the Moon.

As the series drew to a close, it became clear that there was unfinished business. Some of the flight controllers who had been present for the Apollo 11 landing had also worked on another, arguably more dramatic, endeavour – the ill-fated flight of Apollo 13.

That mission was crippled by an explosion while en route to the moon and nearly 200,000 miles from Earth. The story was popularised in 1995 in a

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