Apollo 13’s Fred Haise to present Sept. 12 President’s Lecture

The President’s Lecture Series will feature Fred Haise, Apollo 13 astronaut and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, on Sept. 12, the 55th anniversary of President John Kennedy’s “Moon Speech” at Rice Stadium.

Haise’s talk, “Failure Is Not an Option: Embodying the Credo, ‘We Do This Not Because It Is Easy but Because It Is Hard,'” will be at 8 p.m. in the Shepherd School of Music’s Stude Concert Hall. The event is free to attend and open to the public.

Fred Haise

Fred Haise

Haise is one of only 24 people who have flown to the moon. He served as lunar module pilot on Apollo 13, the seventh manned mission in the Apollo program. He would have been the sixth person to walk on the moon had the mission not been aborted due to the explosion of an oxygen tank April 13, 1970. The explosion crippled the spacecraft’s service module and forced Haise and crewmates Jim Lovell and Jack Swigert to take refuge in the lunar module for the five days. During their return to Earth, the crew suffered loss of cabin heat, was short of water and had to perform makeshift repairs on the spacecraft’s life-support system. While passing behind the moon, Apollo 13 set a record for the farthest that humans have traveled from Earth.

Haise will speak about the history of the United States manned space program and the harrowing story of the Apollo 13 mission. His lecture will be followed by a brief conversation on the future of the U.S. space program featuring Haise, Rice Space Institute Director David Alexander and Johnson Space Center Director and former astronaut Ellen Ochoa.

Each year, the President’s Lecture Series brings to the Rice campus a variety of stimulating speakers on a range of topics. Rice offers the President’s Lecture Series as a means of enhancing the intellectual life not only of the Rice community but of our neighbors throughout the city of Houston. For more information, visit https://president.rice.edu/pls.


About Jade Boyd

Jade Boyd is science editor and associate director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.