Former NASA astronaut and retired United States Navy captain James Arthur “Jim” Lovell, Jr. was born in Cleveland, Ohio to a Czech mother, and presently lives in Chicago.
After graduating the United States Naval Academy in 1952, he entered the United States Navy. Following his career as a captain, Lovell was accepted into the NASA Astronaut Group 2 in 1962. In December 1965, he was assigned as pilot of Gemini 7. In November 1966, he went on to his second flight and first command with Gemini 12. His two Gemini flights gave him more time in space than any other person as of 1966. Lovell then went onto Apollo 8 alongside Frank Borman and William Anders on December 21, 1968, becoming the first men to travel to the Moon.
His next and most famous mission was Apollo 13 in 1970. On April 13, during a routine cryogenic oxygen tank stir in transit to the Moon, damaged electrical insulation on wiring created a spark and started a fire inside the tank, which required an immediate abort of the Moon landing mission. Apollo 13 returned safely to Earth following incredible efforts of the crew and mission control on April 17. The story inspired the “Apolo 13” film, in which James Lovell was played by Tom Hanks.
James Lovell accrued over 715 hours, and had seen a total of 269 sunrises from space on his Gemini and Apollo flights. This was a personal record that stood until the Skylab 3 mission in July through September of 1973. It is also probable that Apollo 13’s flight trajectory gives Lovell, Haise, and Swigert the record for the farthest distance that humans have ever travelled from Earth.
Lovell is a recipient of the Congressional Space Medal of Honor and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He is one of only 24 people to have flown to the Moon. He was also the first person to fly in space four times. The Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center was completed in October 2010, merging the Naval Health Clinic Great Lakes and the North Chicago Veterans Affairs Medical Center.