Full name: James (Jim) A. Lovell. Born March 25, 1928 in Cleveland
As a child, Jim Lovell had an early fascination with spaceflight and constructed and flew model rockets.
Although Lovell was a strong candidate to become one of the original American Mercury Seven astronauts, he was not accepted into the astronaut corps until 1962.
Lovell's first flight was during the Gemini Project. On Gemini VII (1965) he flew with Frank Borman. This mission was a gruelling 14 day endurance test and also demonstrated that orbital rendevous was possible by rendevouing with Gemini VI.
Lovell's second flight was Gemini XII (1966) with Buzz Aldrin. This flight proved rendevous and docking techniques with an unmanned Agena vehicle.
During the Apollo project, Lovell flew two missions. The first, Apollo 8, (1968) reunited Lovell with Frank Borman, along with Bill Anders. Apollo 8 was the first manned spacecraft to leave Earth orbit and made 10 orbits of the moon. The Apollo 8 astronauts were named Time Magazine's Men of the Year as a result.
Apollo 13 is Jim Lovell's most famous mission, which he flew with Jack Swigert and Fred Haise in 1970. On their way to the moon an explosion in their service module resulted in a life and death struggle to get the astronauts home, beginning with Lovell's famous statement to mission control, "Houston, we've had a problem." Following incredible teamwork and courage on Earth and aboard the spacecraft, the crew of Apollo 13 returned safely home.
Lovel retired from the astronaut corps in 1973 and authored "Lost Moon" (retitled as "Apollo 13"), which formed the basis of the Tom Hanks movie about the Apollo 13 mission.