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Apollo Artifacts Gallery


Gene Kranz's Apollo 13 vest and button.

The sign accompanying the vest reads

Gene Kranz's Apollo 13 Vest

Eugene F. "Gene" Kranz, chief of NASA's Flight Control Division, wore this vest during Apollo 13, the third planned lunar landing mission. While the spacecraft was going to the Moon, an explosion occurred in its service module. Mission Control aborted the Moon landing and worked with the ground support team of astronauts, technical experts, and aerospace contractors to solve several key problems and to bring the crew back safely.

As the leader of Mission Control's "white team," Kranz wore a different white suit vest for each mission from Gemini 9 in 1966 through Apollo 17 in 1972. He wore plain vests, like this one, during the missions; he reserved fancier versions for celebrating mission completions. All were hand sewn by his wife, Marta.

Although Kranz's trademark vests were well known at the time, his portrayal by actor Ed Harris in the blockbuster 1995 film Apollo 13 made this particular vest iconic.

As was the custom in Mission Control, "white" was retired from flight team colors after Kranz's retirement.

Gift of the Eugene F. Kranz Family

The vest is Smithsonian collections ID #A20060573000.

The sign accompanying the button reads

Apollo 13 Button

Gene Kranz wore on his vest this button depicting the Apollo 13 mission patch. The Latin phrase means "From the Moon, knowledge."

Gift of the Eugene F. Kranz Family

The actual "Latin phrase" is "Ex Luna, Scientia."

The button is Smithsonian collections ID #A20060574000.

Apollo Artifacts at National Air & Space Museum
Time picture taken Sat Jun 25 11:10:18 2011
Location picture taken Apollo to the Moon Gallery
National Air & Space Museum
Washington, DC
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