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Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control From Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond Paperback – June 23, 2009
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Kranz was part of the mission control team that, in January 1961, launched a chimpanzee into space and successfully retrieved him, and made Alan Shepard the first American in space in May 1961. Just two months later they launched Gus Grissom for a space orbit, John Glenn orbited Earth three times in February 1962, and in May of 1963 Gordon Cooper completed the final Project Mercury launch with 22 Earth orbits. And through them all, and the many Apollo missions that followed, Gene Kranz was one of the integral inside men--one of those who bore the responsibility for the Apollo 1 tragedy, and the leader of the "tiger team" that saved the Apollo 13 astronauts.
Moviegoers know Gene Kranz through Ed Harris's Oscar-nominated portrayal of him in Apollo 13, but Kranz provides a more detailed insider's perspective in his book Failure Is Not an Option. You see NASA through his eyes, from its primitive days when he first joined up, through the 1993 shuttle mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope, his last mission control project. His memoir, however, is not high literature. Kranz has many accomplishments and honors to his credit, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, but this is his first book, and he's not a polished author. There are, perhaps, more behind-the-scenes details and more paragraphs devoted to what Cape Canaveral looked like than the general public demands. If, however, you have a long-standing fascination with aeronautics, if you watched Apollo 13 and wanted more, Failure Is Not an Option will fill the bill. --Stephanie Gold --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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In "Failure Is Not an Option," Kranz tells the story of Mission Control from the begining (he wrote some of the intial procedures manuals) through the Space Shuttle program. He shows how the ground controllers developed into a team, not only with each other, but with the astronauts on board the spacecraft.
Kranz may not be the most polished writer, but this is a first-person account from someone who helped make history. One of the things I really liked about the book is that Kranz not only took detailed notes during the missions (that was his first flight assignment), but he held on to them and used them to provide a more detailed account than I have seen before of the key missions from the perspective of Mission Control. He doesn't pull punches, and he's not afraid to admit mistakes, and this gives this book an air of honesty that you don't always find in an autobiography.
This book provides a clear insight into the space programme itself, but (unlike other books on the subject) it gives the reader a rare glimpse of the inner thoughts, fears, and patriotism of the man who was only 35 when he led the team of controllers which actually guided the Apollo missions to their objectives (and got them home when things went wrong).
Kranz is open about his strong religious convictions, his patriotism for his homeland, and his absolute belief in what he was doing. His commitment to the men with whom he worked comes across strongly, "men" who themselves were in the main only just out of college. In many ways, this might be expected, from a former fighter pilot, and a man whose crewcut hair style scared off the boys chasing his daughters. What is unexpected, is the raw emotion that the experiences which he went through generated in him. Kranz is honest throughout each chapter of this entralling book.
He writes as both a team player, and a team leader. Reading the book clearly shows why he is in demand at conferences to speak and pass on some of his proven ideas about clear leadership and vision.
I confess to being both a space buff, and a fan of Gene Kranz. Nervertheless, I can strongly recommend the book which serves not only as another historic record of those exciting times, but also as being a book which, for once, shows in a meaningful way how something can be achieved, if the team want it badly enough.
Apollo 13 is well known by those who remember, and a generation that learned about it through the movie, and great books like, Tom Lovell's "Lost Moon". I hope as many people know about the tragedy of Apollo 1, and The Challenger is still rather fresh in the public's mind.
Apollo 13 was an incredible accomplishment by all involved, and the 3 men who persevered to make it back are nothing short of remarkable. Those on the ground took everything so personally, but the crew actually had to live through it. However the book puts this mission into perspective by taking the reader through the Mercury and Gemini programs as well.
Alan Shepard was the first to climb on a rocket that had a bad habit of exploding. I don't know what the "Right Stuff" actually is, but he had to made from it. And the Mercury Astronauts that followed all had experiences that were way up on the terror scale for non-astronauts/test pilots. That is one of the most eye opening parts of this book, every mission was so new, that the majority had problems that were potentially fatal.
You will read about the first moon landing, I never knew what happened on that one. Manned mission hit by lightening, a mission coming back with engines still on because who knew if the heat shield was still there. Every mission is just incredible from the complexity, and despite this, the rate of success.
I especially admired the manner that Mr. Kranz discussed the blown hatch on Gus Grissom's flight. The movie did a grave injustice to a man who subsequently died doing his job.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fascinating account. It provide d a real education about the control procedures that resulted in no loss of life in flight during the three phases of the race to the moon. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Skypilotbp
Gene Kranz was also present in Houston when the Columbia shuttle blew up. I wonder what he thought about the leadership of that team?Published 5 days ago by Mark Pomerantz
If you know anything about NASA you know that Gene Kranz is the glue that held the space program together for many years. This is an amazing book. Read morePublished 13 days ago by Andrew Crandall
Purchased this book as a Christmas gift for my brother, he had a hard time putting the book down, he really enjoyed it!Published 29 days ago by CrownVic01
I've been making my way through many many books around the space age era and this (together with Kraft's book) is one of the best books. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer