Houston, we have a problem

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Houston, we have a problem
Origin/etymologyApollo 13 mission
Original form"Uh, Houston, we've had a problem"
Coined byJack Swigert

"Houston, we have a problem" is a popular but erroneous quote from the radio communications between the Apollo 13 astronaut John ("Jack") Swigert and the NASA Mission Control Center ("Houston") during the Apollo 13 spaceflight,[1] as the astronauts communicated their discovery of the explosion that crippled their spacecraft. The erroneous wording was popularized by the 1995 film Apollo 13, a dramatization of the Apollo 13 mission, in which actor Tom Hanks, portraying Mission Commander Jim Lovell, uses that wording, which became one of the film's clichéd taglines.

The words actually spoken, initially by Jack Swigert, were "Okay, Houston, we've had a problem here" (emphasis added). After being prompted to repeat the transmission by CAPCOM Jack R. Lousma, Lovell responded, "Uh, Houston, we've had a problem."

Since then, the phrase has become popular,[2] being used to account, informally, the emergence of an unforeseen problem.[3]

The message[edit]

The dialogue occurred between the base and the astronaut was as follows:[4][5]

Lousma: "13, we've got one more item for you, when you get a chance. We'd like you to stir up your cryo tanks. In addition, I have shaft and trunnion – –"
Swigert: "Okay."
Lousma: "– – for looking at the Comet Bennett, if you need it."
Swigert: "Okay. Stand by." (two minutes of silence)
Swigert: "Okay, Houston, we've had a problem here."
Lousma: "This is Houston. Say again, please."
Lovell: "Uh, Houston, we've had a problem. We've had a MAIN B BUS UNDERVOLT."
Lousma: "Roger. MAIN B UNDERVOLT."
Lousma: "Okay, stand by, 13. We're looking at it."


  1. ^ "Houston, We've Had a Problem". Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  2. ^ "¿Por qué la frase: Houston, tenemos un problema?" [Why the phrase: Houston, we have a problem?]. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  3. ^ ""Houston, tenemos un problema" – Jack Swigert" ["Houston, we have a problem" – Jack Swigert] (in Spanish). Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  4. ^ "Apollo 13 Technical Air-to-Ground Voice Transcription" (PDF). Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  5. ^ James A. Lovell. "Apollo Expeditions to the Moon: Chapter 13". Retrieved November 7, 2018.


External links[edit]