Fred Haise: From Biloxi to space and now cyberspace

April was supposed to be a big month, with the 50th anniversary of Biloxian Fred Haise’s Apollo 13 mission, but with the continuing coronavirus threat, Biloxi’s spaceman is headed to cyberspace.

BTV: Biloxi Television today launches two new hour-long documentaries created by August Taconi. “Fred Haise From Biloxi to the Moon,” will air daily in April at 8 a.m., 8 p.m. and 2 p.m., and “Apollo 13: The Inside Story” will air daily at 7 a.m., 7 p.m. and 1 p.m.

The programs, which Taconi created from archived and new interviews with Haise, were designed to promote the planned April 10 banquet honoring Haise, and an April 11 unveiling of The Launching Pad, a replica of the base of a Saturn V rocket, which will soon be positioned south of the Biloxi Lighthouse. A statue of Fred in his astronaut garb, now being created by local artist Mary Ott Tremmel Davidson, will later sit atop the eight-foot base.

“Marking this occasion in one way or another is not something we’re going to let pass,” Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich said. “This was one of Biloxi’s, the state’s and world’s proudest moments.”

The public watched the out-of-this-world expedition of Apollo 13 in April 1970. The mission was to be the third trip to land a crew on the moon. Instead, an explosion in one of the oxygen tanks aboard the spacecraft forced the astronauts to orbit their cripped craft around the moon and slingshot to Earth without landing on the moon.   

“Mississippi Power, the Mississippi Development Authority and others have been working on this commemorative event for months,” Mayor Gilich said. “The celebration is still going to happen but now as a cyberspace event. And how fitting is that?”  

The Launch Pad event will stream live on the City of Biloxi’s website and will air after the event on the city’s YouTube channel and on BTV. 

The agenda for the cyberspace unveiling of the Launch Pad is still being modified and tickets sales are closed.  Anyone who has purchased tickets should contact the Biloxi Main Street office at 228-435-6339 or the Biloxi Visitors Center at 228-374-3105 for refund information.
See Fred’s love letter to Biloxi in the April Bnews Monthly
See the BTV schedule for April