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Gene Kranz gives a great talk about his team and how they handled Apollo 13 and other Apollo flight problems.

anonymous said:

Is there like some kind of story between Agent Gillette's crisis vest?

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I didn’t know this, but Yes, there is! It’s a nod to NASA flight director Gene Kranz and his stylish vests. When NASA established mission control, they broke the shifts up into three teams, red, blue and white. Kranz was on the white junior team. Well, he was a fan on the 3-piece suit (who isn’t?) and his wife liked to sew and Viola: a tradition was born. He would wear a specially-made white vest for each mission and during splash down would wear a festive version such as gold and silver or a sequined red, white, and blue. You can see some reference to this in the movie, Apollo 13. Kind of an adorable story, and I love that Ray would have it as his crisis wear!

Spaceflight will never tolerate carelessness, incapacity, and neglect. Somewhere, somehow, we screwed up. It could have been in design, build, or test. Whatever it was, we should have caught it. We were too gung ho about the schedule and we locked out all of the problems we saw each day in our work. Every element of the program was in trouble and so were we. The simulators were not working, Mission Control was behind in virtually every area, and the flight and test procedures changed daily. Nothing we did had any shelf life. Not one of us stood up and said, ‘Dammit, stop!’ I don’t know what Thompson’s committee will find as the cause, but I know what I find. We are the cause! We were not ready! We did not do our job. We were rolling the dice, hoping that things would come together by launch day, when in our hearts we knew it would take a miracle. We were pushing the schedule and betting that the Cape would slip before we did.


From this day forward, Flight Control will be known by two words: ‘Tough’ and ‘Competent.’ Tough means we are forever accountable for what we do or what we fail to do. We will never again compromise our responsibilities. Every time we walk into Mission Control we will know what we stand for. Competent means we will never take anything for granted. We will never be found short in our knowledge and in our skills. Mission Control will be perfect. When you leave this meeting today you will go to your office and the first thing you will do there is to write ‘Tough and Competent’ on your blackboards. It will never be erased. Each day when you enter the room these words will remind you of the price paid by Grissom, White, and Chaffee. These words are the price of admission to the ranks of Mission Control.

—  Gene Kranz addressing flight controllers the Monday after the fire in what became known as “The Kranz Dictum.”

Has anyone been fired from Mission Control for snuggling the scary Flight Director, just because it looked like they needed a hug? I think I would have been the first.

"Tough and Competent." Tough means we are forever accountable for what we do or what we fail to do…Competent means we will never take anything for granted…These words are the price of admission to the ranks of Mission Control.

Eugene F. Kranz

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