Student lands a visit from Astronaut


Jayden Bradshaw is a first grader at Fort Worth ISD’s Westpark Elementary School in Benbrook. This week, Jayden and his classmates had a very special visitor. Recently, Jayden’s grandfather participated in a fund-raiser for the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. As a result, he won a school visit by Apollo 13 astronaut Fred Haise. Mr. Haise was introduced by Jayden and then recounted nearly being lost in space on the Apollo 13 mission. He shared how teamwork, education and perseverance led the Apollo 13 crew home safely to Earth.
Haise, now 80, was lunar module pilot for Apollo 13, April 11-17, 1970. Apollo 13 was scheduled for a ten-day mission for the first landing in the hilly, upland Fra Mauro region of the moon. The original flight plan, however, was modified en route to the moon due to a failure of the service module cryogenic oxygen system which occurred at approximately 55 hours into the flight. Haise and fellow crewmen, James A. Lovell (spacecraft commander) and John L. Swigert (command module pilot), working closely with Houston ground controllers, converted their lunar module “Aquarius” into an effective lifeboat. Their emergency activation and operation of lunar module systems conserved both electrical power and water in sufficient supply to assure their safety and survival while in space and for the return to earth.
He also flew several test flights of the prototype Space Shuttle Enterprise in the late 1970s and is one of only 24 people to have ever flown to the Moon.
Following a student question and answer session, Mr. Haise personalized and autographed a photo to all the children in Mrs. Thielvoldt’s first grade class.