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Failure is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and beyond Hardcover – 24 Apr 2000
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|Hardcover, 24 Apr 2000||
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In 1957, the Russians launched Sputnik and the ensuing space race. Three years later, Gene Kranz left his aircraft testing job to join NASA and champion the American cause. What he found was an embryonic department run by whizz kids (such as himself), sharp engineers and technicians who had to create the Mercury mission rules and procedures from the ground up. As he says, "Since there were no books written on the actual methodology of space flight, we had to write them as we went along".
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 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 honours 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 fit the bill. --Stephanie Gold
"A rich, behind-the-scenes account of the experts who held the lives of America's first space explorers in their hands." -- Mark Carreau, "Houston Chronicle"See all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
After 16 successful launches they overcame the death of three astronauts in the pad fire that destroyed Apollo 1. But, despite that disaster, the programme continued and we are given a gripping account of the moon landings, subsequent lift off and rendezvous. There’s also an near-light-hearted summary – remember the film? – of the way in which the astronauts put together that air scrubber using a fan, bits of cardboard and a fair amount of duct tape. But it worked and averted another near disaster.
At the end of the book Gene Krantz expresses – strongly – his views about the way in which the United States terminated that particular part of the space programme. But, of course, he was unaware of the way in which projects like the International Space Station and Mars explorations would ultimately follow. And that Russia, China and India would play a major joint role in ongoing space exploration.
In the book he also quotes the opening line (the title to my review) of the poem ‘High Flight’, written by the 19-year-old Canadian pilot John McGee, who was killed when his Spitfire 1 collided with a training aircraft close to RAF Cranwell on 11 December 1941. ‘High Flight’ is now the official poem of both the RAF at the RCAF and was quoted by President Reagan in his speech following the Challenger disaster on 28 January 1985.Read more ›
This to me is the gratest book EVER written on Americas journey to the moon.
Kranz starts off with the Mercury program in deatil then onto Gemini and finally to the greatest accomplishment of all time, stepping foot on the surface of the moon. It takes you through the high's and the low's of the program and takes each mission and explians it in great detail.
Gene introduces the astronauts as they really were,not how others or the press percieved them to be. Its truly remarkable to me how he can remember in such great detail each event in turn that happend with, say the armstrong gemini flight that nearly ended in disaster or the near fateful Apollo 13 mission.
Overall this is a must for fans of the space program or even if youve just seen Apollo 13 and want to know more. Reviewers who say its technical at times, are correct but Kranz does explain what abbreviations mean as you go through each chapter.
He has been not only present but intrinsically important to some of the most seminal moments in not only scientific but human evolution and his story is one of intrigue and a burning desire to learn and grow.
He captures the blend of adrenalin, adventure and discipline that drove the extraodinary accomplishments of the era and turns a book that I had high expectations of into a must read addition to the genre.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent book, very interesting to find out all of the things involved with starting a space program.Published 19 days ago by Rick Padwick
This was a Christmas present from my partner, for a long time I've been fascinated by the space race, and space science in general. Read morePublished 3 months ago by C. Davison
This is very difficult to get hold of and I am more than happy with it.Published 18 months ago by SJ Hogan
Real insight into the bits and pieces of the Lunar Space Programme, written by somebody who was at the centre of it all . Excellent and very readable.Published on 7 April 2015 by gavin scott brown
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