Failure Is Not an Option by Gene Kranz example

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"Failure Is Not an Option" by Gene Kranz

The book “Failure is not an Option: Mission Control From Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond” has been written in the form of an autobiography by Gene Kranz, the man who played a central role in America's space program for three decades. In this book, Kranz recounts the thrilling tales of NASA’s space flight adventures providing an insider’s peek into the fortunes and perils of the missions as well as the joys and woes of all who were involved.

Kranz’s tenure at NASA lends an indisputable degree of trustworthiness to the author and the book. The authenticity of the anecdotes and narratives are unquestionable and the use of technical terms and space jargons only add to the author’s credentials. Kranz had been involved in NASA’s space program right from the days of the Mercury initiative in the early 1960s. He was the Flight Director for the Apollo 11 Mission that landed Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the Moon on July 20, 1969. He was, however, best known as the Lead Flight Director for the Apollo 13 mission, who had been instrumental in safely bringing the Apollo 13 spaceship and its crew back to earth on April 17, 1970, from near-loss. Subsequently, he served in various roles for NASA, including the Director of Mission Operations from 1983 until his retirement in 1994.

Kranz’s selection of the title for the book is significant because it embodies the very spirit and attitude of the people that drove NASA’s missions in the early years of America’s space program. He provides a personal account of how NASA’s Mission Control was set up from scratch and how the US space program evolved through the various flights. Kranz focuses a lot on the sheer determination demonstrated by the Mission Control team at critical points, which brought glory to the astronauts, the organization and the nation. He also provides an insider’s view into the evolution of NASA’s technological systems and how these were operated and handled by the Flight Directors. Kranz concludes the book with his perspective on what has gone wrong with the US space program in the current times, and exudes hope that a new generation of Americans will find the national leadership, spirit and courage to carry forward what they had started.

In his review of the book, Thomas Beamish opines that Kranz’s work is a valuable addition to the history of the US space program mostly because of his first-hand accounts of the behind-the-scenes determination of Mission Control and its Flight Directors. This had been lacking in most of the literature available on this subject till date. However, he also adds a note of caution for scholars interested in the foundation of contemporary technologies. Since the book is written as an autobiography, the content is embellished with personal celebrations and has several distracting references to the author’s personal life, which may dwindle the academic value of the …

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