Jim Lovell

A genuine hero in the annals of the American space program, James Lovell served as pilot for NASA's Gemini 7 mission and commander of Gemini 12 before facing his greatest challenge as commander of Apollo 13, which he returned safely to Earth after a system failure which nearly claimed the lives of all aboard the craft. Lovell's heroics on the Apollo 13 mission, which later served as the basis for Ron Howard's Oscar-winning 1994 film of the same name, helped to preserve Lovell's status as one of the greatest figures in the history of the space program, of which he had been a key part since 1962. Over the course of his decade-long career as an astronaut, Lovell logged a record-breaking number of hours in space while participating in some of the most historic events in manned space flight. But it was his command of Apollo 13, and his actions that defied the odds to return the craft and crew safely to Earth, that truly minted James Lovell as one of America's bravest exploration heroes.