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11th of April

The 11th of April is known as International ‘Louie Louie’ day after the rock song created by Richard Berry who was born on this day in 1935. The 11th of April is the 101st day of the year (Gregorian calendar) or 102nd in a leap year.






11th of April


On the 11th of April in 1970

Apollo 13 mission takes off from the Kennedy Space at 14:13 local time (US Eastern Standard Time) or 18:13 GMT. The thirteenth Apollo Mission was planned to be the third manned mission to the Moon, but events didn’t go to plan. Just days before the launch John Swigert had to take  over as Command Module Pilot when the original Command Module Pilot, Ken Mattingly, was exposed to German Measles from another astronaut. Then just 5 minutes and 30 seconds after take off, the three astronauts (John Swigert, Fred Haise and James Lovell) felt a small unexpected vibration just before the centre engine shut down 2 minutes early. This meant that the other remaining rockets had to burn for slightly longer, using up more fuel than expected in order to send the crew into orbit. After this initial hiccup the flight seemed to be going perfectly and the crew were in high spirits, talking to the nation on a live television broadcast. At 55 hours and 55minutes into the flight everything changed. At 01:08 (GMT) on the 14 of April 1970 (or 21:08 on the 13th of April for the Kennedy Space Centre) the No.2 oxygen tank exploded and this made the No.1 oxygen tank also malfunction. Lovell contacted the space centre "Houston, we’ve had a problem here”. He went on to inform them that two of the three fuel cells, which provided electricity for the spacecraft, were not working and the dials were indicating that all the oxygen from tank 1 was gone and tank 2 was loosing oxygen very quickly. Lovell confirmed this a few minutes later when he looked out the window and observed that the craft was venting gas (this was the Oxygen from tank 2). At about 200,000 miles from Earth the crew knew this could mean more than just a failure of the mission. With the rapid loss of oxygen the crew had one option left. They would have to use the Luna Module, which had its own ample oxygen supplies, as a life raft and survive the rest of the journey home inside. They entered the Luna Module and closed the hatch. They used the already aligned path to travel around the Moon and use its gravity to propel them back to Earth, but many more problems became apparent.  It was known that the fuel cells required water as a coolant but also the crew obviously needed it to survive. The answer they found was to turn off the coolant pumps and rely on the coldness of space to take care of some of the heating problem. The crew also severely reduced their water intake and mainly relied on any wet food rations they had. The crew also had to create a filter for the air supply when the CO2 reached dangerous levels. They also managed to align the craft without the instruments that they were used to using and managed to align for the return trip with just half a degree off the planed route. The crew returned safely (but severely dehydrated) to Earth on the 17th of April 1970. On the 31st of January 1971 the United States launched the Apollo 14 mission which succeeded where Apollo 13 failed.



On the 11th of April in 1814

Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte abdicated as emperor and as per the Treaty of Fontainebleau, he was exiled to the Mediterranean island of Elba. Napoleon is considered one of the greatest military leaders of all time and was determined to expand the French empire in Europe and conquering his enemies such as Great Britain, Russia, Austria, Prussia and Portugal. After Napoleons defeat in the ‘Peninsular War’ Napoleon was severely weakened with the loss of Spain. Then on the 30th of March 1814 the sixth coalition forces made up of Russia, Austria and Prussia defeated Napoleon in the Battle of Paris which led to the signing of the Treaty of Fontainebleau which stated that Napoleon must give up his sovereignty of France and other territories. He abdicated on the 11th of April 1814 and was also exiled to the Mediterranean island of Elba under the treaty, but this was not the end for Napoleon.



On the 11th of April in 1689

William III and Mary II are crowned sovereigns of Great Britain.