James ‘Jim’ Lovell, Jr. is a former NASA astronaut, most famous as the commander of Apollo 13, which suffered an explosion enroute to the Moon but was brought back safely to Earth by the efforts of the crew and mission control. Lovell was also the command module pilot of Apollo 8, the first Apollo mission to enter lunar orbit.
On April 11, 1970, Lovell took off on Apollo 13 with Fred Haise and Jack Swigert, planning to land on the Moon along with Haise. But on April 13, an oxygen tank on the spacecraft exploded due to a damaged coil built inside the oxygen tank sparked during the cryo stir and caused the explosion that crippled the Odyssey and caused it to lose oxygen and power. The mission was aborted, and using the lunar module’s engine, oxygen and power, Lovell and his crew traveled once around the Moon and returned to Earth safely on April 17.
He retired from the Navy and the space program in 1973 and went to work at the Bay-Houston Towing Company in Houston, Texas, becoming CEO in 1975. He became president of Fisk Telephone Systems in 1977, and later worked for Centel, retiring as an executive vice president on January 1, 1991. Lovell, a recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award, later served as the President of the National Eagle Scout Association in the mid-1990’s. He was also recognized by the Boy Scouts of America with their prestigious Silver Buffalo Award.