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Archives at The Museum of Flight

Michael A. Poirier Apollo 13 Recovery Collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 2009-04-15
The Michael Poirier Apollo 13 Recovery Collection is a small collection comprised of film footage and photomechanical prints relating to the recovery of the Apollo 13 spacecraft by the USS Iwo Jima on April 17 1970.

The film footage, which was shot by Poirier and is about ten minutes long, depicts both a SIMEX (simulation exercise) of the Apollo 13 recovery using a boilerplate Command Module (CM), as well as the actual recovery of the real CM. Several shots feature U.S. Navy Sikorsky SH-3D Sea King helicopters of HS-4 (Anti-submarine Squadron 4), including Helicopter 66. The Apollo 13 crew (James A. Lovell, John L. Swigert, and Fred W. Haise) also appear in some scenes.

Also included are ten photomechanical prints depicting scenes of the Apollo 13 splashdown and recovery. Subjects featured in the prints include U.S. Navy helicopters, the Command Module, and the Apollo 13 astronauts.


  • 1970


Language of Materials

All materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research and is accessible in the Dahlberg Research Center by appointment. The film in this collection may not be handled, but a digital surrogate is available on our The Museum of Flight Digital Collections. For more information contact us.

Conditions Governing Use

The Museum of Flight (TMOF) Archives is the owner of the physical materials in the archives and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from TMOF archives before any publication use. TMOF does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from copyright owners. Consult repository for more details.


0.2 Cubic Feet (1 folder, 1 film reel )

Historical Note: Apollo 13

Apollo 13 was the seventh crewed mission in NASA’s Apollo space program, and was planned to be the third lunar landing. Crewed by astronauts James A. Lovell, Jr., John L. Swigert, Jr., and Fred W. Haise, Jr., it launched from Kennedy Space Center on April 11, 1970. The lunar landing and mission were aborted after an explosion in the service module caused the loss of two oxygen tanks.

The mission’s failure focused public attention on the space program. All three astronauts survived the landing largely unharmed. The craft orbited for six days before eventually making an emergency landing in the South Pacific on April 17, 1970. It was recovered, and the astronauts rescued, by the USS Iwo Jima.

Historical note derived from:
  • “Apollo 13.” Nasa Content Administrator, NASA. Accessed June 19, 2021
  • "Apollo 13". Wikipedia. Accessed June 19, 2021
Biographical Note: Michael A. Poirier Michael A. Poirier served in the U.S. Navy from 1968-1971.

Poirier was born in 1949 in Seattle, Washington. He graduated from Mercer Island High School in 1967. During his time with the U.S. Navy from 1968-1971 he served in Guam, operating satellite radio navigation, and then as Quartermaster aboard the U.S.S. Iwo Jima. He was aboard the Iwo Jima when it recovered the fallen Apollo 13 command module on April 17, 1970.

After his military service, Poirier worked for 29 years with the King County Sheriff’s Department.

Biographical note derived from donor information.

Existence and Location of Copies

Materials from this collection have been digitized and are available at The Museum of Flight Digital Collections.

Separated Materials

Some materials were separated from the archival component of the collection. Two cloth patches for the USS Iwo Jima LPH-2 were transferred to the Objects collection. One report, "USS Iwo Jima LPH-2 Apollo 13 Cruise Report," was transferred to the Library.
Guide to the Michael A. Poirier Apollo 13 Recovery Collection
Completed - Level 2
A. Matthews
Description rules
Language of description
Processing, cataloging, and digitization of the film in this collection was made possible by a Council on Libraries and Information Resources (CLIR) "Recordings at Risk" grant.
Edition statement
1st edition

Repository Details

Part of the The Museum of Flight Archives Repository

9404 East Marginal Way South
Seattle Washington 98108-4097

The Museum of Flight | 9404 E. Marginal Way South | Seattle WA 98108-4097 | 206-764-5874
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