Failure Is Not an Option by Gene Kranz
Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond

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Synopsis

This memoir of a veteran NASA flight director tells riveting stories from the early days of the Mercury program through Apollo 11 (the moon landing) and Apollo 13, for both of which Kranz was flight director.

Gene Kranz was present at the creation of America’s manned space program and was a key player in it for three decades. As a flight director in NASA’s Mission Control, Kranz witnessed firsthand the making of history. He participated in the space program from the early days of the Mercury program to the last Apollo mission, and beyond. He endured the disastrous first years when rockets blew up and the United States seemed to fall further behind the Soviet Union in the space race. He helped to launch Alan Shepard and John Glenn, then assumed the flight director’s role in the Gemini program, which he guided to fruition. With his teammates, he accepted the challenge to carry out President John F. Kennedy’s commitment to land a man on the Moon before the end of the 1960s.

Kranz recounts these thrilling historic events and offers new information about the famous flights. What appeared as nearly flawless missions to the Moon were, in fact, a series of hair-raising near misses. When the space technology failed, as it sometimes did, the controllers’ only recourse was to rely on their skills and those of their teammates. He reveals behind-the-scenes details to demonstrate the leadership, discipline, trust, and teamwork that made the space program a success.

A fascinating firsthand account by a veteran mission controller of one of America’s greatest achievements, Failure is Not an Option reflects on what has happened to the space program and offers his own bold suggestions about what we ought to be doing in space now.
 

About Gene Kranz

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Eugene F. Kranz joined the NASA Space Task Group in 1960 and was Assistant Flight Director for Project Mercury (the original manned space missions). He continued as Flight Director for the Apollo 11 lunar landing. He is a co-recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work leading the Apollo 13 teams. Failure Is Not an Option is his first book. He lives with his family near Houston, Texas.
 
Published February 21, 2001 by Simon & Schuster. 416 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Computers & Technology, Travel, Science & Math, Professional & Technical, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Failure Is Not an Option

Publishers Weekly

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When the heroic American astronauts of the '60s and '70s inquired, Houston, do you read? it was often Krantz's team who answered from the ground. Veteran NASA flight controller Krantz (portrayed b

Apr 10 2000 | Read Full Review of Failure Is Not an Option: Mis...

Publishers Weekly

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Krantz's story opens in the world of the first U.S. space scientists, of exploding Mercury-Atlas rockets, flaming escape towers and ""the first rule of flight control"": ""If you don't know what to do, don't do anything!"" Its climax is Apollo 13, with Krantz serving as ""lead flight director"" a...

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BC Books

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While this is a book that is likely to appeal only to devotees of space and space history, it is an important addition to the canon of literature available about America's space program.

Jun 27 2009 | Read Full Review of Failure Is Not an Option: Mis...

BC Books

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From "God Speed, John Glenn," to "Houston, we have a problem," NASA's Mission Control Center has been the uncelebrated focus of support for the U.S. space program.

Jun 28 2005 | Read Full Review of Failure Is Not an Option: Mis...

BC Books

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Kranz was so successfully as a flight director because of his ability to drive his team to give him their very best to ensure the success of the mission.

Jun 27 2009 | Read Full Review of Failure Is Not an Option: Mis...

HistoryNet

The phrase "Failure is not an option" entered the American lexicon through the tremendous popularity of the film Apollo 13, but it has been Gene Kranz's personal philosophy from the time he entered the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) until the present day.

Aug 11 2001 | Read Full Review of Failure Is Not an Option: Mis...

Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Then today's engineers might follow in the footsteps of Kranz's Mission Control crew.

Aug 24 2003 | Read Full Review of Failure Is Not an Option: Mis...

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