Failure Is Not an Option

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Failure Is Not an Option is a presentation on the History Channel documenting the United States' space program with insights from the flight engineers, project managers, flight controllers, astronauts, and others involved inside the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Speakers include Chris Kraft, Gene Kranz, Jim Lovell, Jerry Bostick, Ed Fendell, Gene Cernan, John Llewellen, John Aaron, Glynn Lunney, Wally Schirra, and Gerry Griffin. It takes the viewer from the Launch of Sputnik through the moon missions. It was produced in 2003.

Failure Is Not An Option is also the title of an autobiographical book written by Gene Kranz and, although he is often attributed with having spoken those words during the Apollo 13 mission, he did not. As to the origin of the phrase, the following story was given, citing an email by Apollo 13 FDO Flight Controller Jerry Bostick:[1]

"As far as the expression 'Failure is not an option', you are correct that Kranz never used that term. In preparation for the movie, the script writers, Al Reinart and Bill Broyles, came down to Clear Lake to interview me on "What are the people in Mission Control really like?" One of their questions was "Weren't there times when everybody, or at least a few people, just panicked?" My answer was "No, when bad things happened, we just calmly laid out all the options, and failure was not one of them. We never panicked, and we never gave up on finding a solution." I immediately sensed that Bill Broyles wanted to leave and assumed that he was bored with the interview. Only months later did I learn that when they got in their car to leave, he started screaming, "That's it! That's the tag line for the whole movie, Failure is not an option. Now we just have to figure out who to have say it." Of course, they gave it to the Kranz character, and the rest is history."

Kranz chose it as the title of his 2000 autobiography because he liked the way the line reflected the attitude of mission control.[2] In the book, he states, "a creed that we [NASA's Mission Control Center] all lived by: 'Failure is not an option'", though the book does not indicate that the phrase is apocryphal.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "ORIGIN OF APOLLO 13 QUOTE:"FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION."". SpaceActs.com. Retrieved October 23, 2009. 
  2. ^ Stephen Cass (2005). "Apollo 13, We Have a Solution". Part II: Page 3. IEEE Spectrum magazine. Retrieved October 20, 2007.