- Category : Astronaut
- Type : GE
- Profile : 1/3 - Investigating / Martyr
- Definition : Split - Small (10,13,34,45)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Planning 3
John Leonard "Jack" Swigert, Jr., (August 30, 1931 – December 27, 1982) was a NASA astronaut, one of the 24 persons who have flown to the Moon.
Before joining NASA, Swigert was a test pilot. After leaving NASA, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives for Colorado's 6th congressional district, but died before being sworn in.
He attended Blessed Sacrament School, Regis Jesuit High School, and East High School, from which he graduated. Swigert received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical engineering from the University of Colorado in 1953, a Master of Science degree in Aerospace engineering from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1965, and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Hartford in 1967; and was presented an Honorary Doctorate of Science degree from American International College in 1970, and an Honorary Doctorate of Laws degree from Western State University in 1970, and an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Western Michigan University in 1970.
After unsuccessfully applying for NASA's second and third astronaut selections, Swigert was accepted into the astronaut corps as part of NASA Astronaut Group 5 in April 1966. Swigert became a specialist on the Apollo command module: he was one of the few astronauts who requested to be command-module pilots.
Swigert was one of three astronauts aboard the ill-fated Apollo 13 moon mission launched April 11, 1970. Originally part of the backup crew for the mission, he was assigned to the mission three days before launch, replacing astronaut Ken Mattingly. The prime crew had been exposed to German Measles (the rubella virus) and, because he had no immunity to the disease, NASA did not want to risk his falling ill during critical phases of the flight. Incidentally, this made Swigert the first American bachelor astronaut to fly in space.
The mission was the third lunar-landing attempt, but was aborted after the rupture of an oxygen tank in the spacecraft's service module. Swigert was the astronaut who made the famous dramatic announcement, "Houston, we've had a problem here". Swigert, along with fellow astronauts Jim Lovell and Fred Haise, returned safely to Earth on April 17 after about 5 days and 23 hours in space, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom later that year.
Swigert received the NASA Distinguished Service Medal.
In 1982, during his political campaign, Swigert developed a malignant tumor in his right nasal passage. He underwent surgery, but the cancer spread to his bone marrow and lungs. He was hospitalized at Georgetown University Hospital on 19 December, and died of respiratory failure on December 27, eight days before the beginning of his Congressional term. He is buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery (Wheat Ridge), in Colorado.
In 1988, Jack Swigert was nominated and inducted into the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame.
In 1995, Swigert was portrayed by Kevin Bacon in Ron Howard's film Apollo 13.
In 1997, a statue of Swigert made by George and Mark Lundeen was placed on display in the US Capitol Building which as of December 2008 is on display in Emancipation Hall in the United States Capitol Visitor Center. A duplicate statue is currently on display at Denver International Airport.
In September 2003, John L. Swigert Jr. was elected to the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Alumni Hall of Fame