Apollo 13 flight controller to land at Cal State L.A. Feb. 20
Remember "Houston, we've had a problem"? This CSULA alumnus helped handle it
Author Sy Liebergot will sign ÂApollo EECOM: Journey of a LifetimeÂ after talk
Los Angeles, CA Â With the Apollo 13 spacecraft facing unthinkable disaster as it headed to the moon, back at Mission Control Sy Liebergot made the call: abandon the moon landing and just return home safely.
On Tuesday, Feb. 20, Liebergot will return to his alma mater, Cal State L.A., to describe the Apollo 13 rescue and other Mission Control experiences in the keynote address for the UniversityÂs National Engineers Week activities. The lecture, which is free, will be at 2 p.m. in the Golden Eagle Ballroom.
On April 13, 1970, Apollo 13 was 56 hoursÂand 200,000 milesÂinto its trip to make the third manned landing on the moon when one of its two oxygen tanks exploded, causing the remaining tank to leak oxygen into space and prompting astronaut Jack Swigert to utter one of space historyÂs most famous lines: ÂHouston, weÂve had a problem.Â
As the lead EECOM (electrical, environmental, sequential systems engineer) flight controller, Liebergot was at the console at Mission Control at the Johnson Space Center in Houston with the responsibility for ending Apollo 13Âs mission to the moonÂs surface and starting the fight for survival. About three and a half days later, the crew landed safely in the ocean.
Copies of his of autobiography, Apollo EECOM: Journey of a Lifetime, will be available for purchase ($20) and signing from 3:30-4:30 p.m. following the talk.
Liebergot, now an author and space historian, graduated from Cal State L.A. with a bachelorÂs degree in electrical engineering in 1963. In the Academy Award-winning movie Apollo 13, Liebergot was portrayed by Clint Howard.
After graduating from Cal State L.A., Liebergot began his career with North American Aviation in Downey at the inception of the Apollo lunar program. Soon he was in Houston, Texas, making a move to NASA to qualify for a Âfront-roomÂ flight controller position in Mission Control. As he puts it, Âto get in on the action.Â
He served as assistant flight director on AS-501 (the first Saturn V launch), as lead EECOM flight controller on all Apollo manned missions, as the EECOM for the Skylab missions and, on the international scene, as lead EECOM for the American-Russian Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. He also contributed to the early shuttle missions. As a senior project engineer, he directed the design and fabrication of the astronaut neutral buoyancy trainers for the International Space Station (ISS).
Apollo 13 Flight Controller to keynote
Cal State L.A. Engineers Week
Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2007, 2 p.m.
Golden Eagle Ballroom, California State University, Los Angeles, 5151 State University Drive, Los Angeles, 90032
Admission is free. Public permit dispenser parking available at Lots C and G or upper level of Parking Structure 2.
Cal State L.A.Âs College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology, (323) 343-4500.
A free public lecture about Apollo 13 by Sy Liebergot, former NASA Mission Control flight controller and author of Apollo EECOM: Journey of a Lifetime. In April 1970, with the Apollo 13 spacecraft facing disaster as it headed to the moon, back at Mission Control Liebergot, a Cal State L.A. alumnus, made the call: Abandon the moon landing and just return home safely. After his lecture, he will sign copies of his book.
Working for California since 1947: The 175-acre hilltop campus of California State University, Los Angeles is at the heart of a major metropolitan city, just five miles from Los AngelesÂ civic and cultural center. More than 20,000 students and 190,000 alumniÂwith a wide variety of interests, ages and backgroundsÂreflect the cityÂs dynamic mix of populations. Six colleges offer nationally recognized science, arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and humanities programs, among others, led by an award-winning faculty. Cal State L.A. is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Jazz Orchestra and to a unique university center for gifted students as young as 12. Programs that provide exciting enrichment opportunities to students and community include an NEH- and Rockefeller-supported humanities center; a NASA-funded center for space research; and a growing forensic science program, to be housed in the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center now under construction. www.calstatela.edu