American astronaut Thomas Mattingly dies at age 87 – TVA Nouvelles

NASA astronaut Thomas Mattingly, whose efforts from the ground control cell helped bring the crew of the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission back safely, died Tuesday at age 87, the space agency announced Thursday.

While Thomas Mattingly – also known as Ken Mattingly – was scheduled to be the command module pilot for the Apollo 13 flight, he was grounded 72 hours before launch after being exposed to rubella, NASA chief Bill Nelson said.

In April 1970, during the mission, an explosion disabled the spacecraft en route to the moon. Mattingly, who did not become ill, went to mission control and developed energy-saving procedures to allow the vehicle to re-enter the atmosphere, saving the lives of James Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise, the astronauts aboard the module.

The 1995 film “Apollo 13,” in which Gary Sinise plays Mattingly, popularized the mission of the same name.

A savior despite his will, the astronaut began his career as a pilot in naval aviation before being selected as an astronaut in 1966.

At NASA, he was a command module pilot on the Apollo 16 mission and captain of two space shuttle missions.

“Thomas’ contributions have advanced our learning beyond space,” Nelson said.