Gene Kranz and Apollo 13

Gene Kranz and Apollo 13

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Gene Kranz and Apollo 13

On April 17, 1970, Gene Kranz brought the Apollo 13 spacecraft

safely back to earth demonstrating extraordinary courage and heroism. The

hit film, Apollo 13, chronicles Kranz's struggle to devise the plan that would

bring the ship and its crew of three astronauts home after its oxygen system


Kranz retired from NASA in 1994 after 37 years of federal service, and

is currently a consultant and speaker. "Failure is not an option", the

motto that carried him through the Apollo 13 crisis, is a major theme of his

motivational message.

After receiving his BS degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Parks

College of St. Louis University in 1954, Kranz was commissioned in the US

Air Force and flew high performance jet fighter aircraft, including the F-80,

F-86 and F-100. In 1958, he worked as a Flight Test Engineer for McDonnell

Aircraft, developing the Quail Decoy Missile for B-52 and B-47.

Kranz joined the NASA Space Task Group at Langley, Virginia in

1960, and was assigned the position of Assistant Flight Director for Project

Mercury. He assumed Flight Director duties for all Project Gemini Missions,

and was Branch Chief for Flight Control Operations. He was selected as

Division Chief for Flight Control in 1968 and continued his duties as Flight

Director for Apollo II Lunar Landing before taking over the leadership of

the Apollo 13 "White Team". Kranz renamed his team the "Tiger Team"

during the Apollo 13 mission as a crisis management term he borrowed from

the military. He was discharged from the Air Force Reserve as a Captain in


Kranz has received numerous awards and honours, including the

Presidential Medal of Freedom, which he received from President Nixon for

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the Apollo 13 mission, and his designation as a Distinguished Member of the

Senior Executive Service by President Reagan.

The Apollo 13 crisis pushed Kranz and his team to the brink of fear

and doubt, but they refused to give to these emotions or succumb to panic.

Instead, under his leadership, they worked together to save the imperiled

spacecraft, and brought the ship and crew safely home.
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