James Arthur Lovell Jr. is a retired American astronaut, naval aviator, and mechanical engineer. In 1968, as command module pilot of Apollo 8, he became, with Frank Borman and William Anders, one of the first three astronauts to fly to and orbit the Moon. He then commanded the 1970 Apollo 13 lunar mission which, after a critical failure en route, circled around the Moon and returned safely to Earth through the efforts of the crew and mission control.
A graduate of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland in the class of 1952, Lovell flew F2H Banshee night fighters. This included a Western Pacific deployment aboard the aircraft carrier USS Shangri-La. In January 1958, he entered a six-month test pilot training course at the Naval Air Test Center at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, with Class 20. Two of his classmates were Pete Conrad and Wally Schirra, but Lovell graduated first in the class. He became McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II program manager. In 1961 he completed Aviation Safety School at the University of Southern California