nasa flight director


I believed that when we landed on the moon in 1969 as a flight director, my children would see an American back on the moon. I’m starting to lose that belief. I would hope I’d have seen it myself. That is now impossible. I hope my children will see it; and if not, their grandchildren. So it is time for us, as a nation, to take the step forward and recognize the challenge we face and to move forward and make things happen.

– Gene Kranz, Former NASA Flight Director

We urge your support for the Kickstarter campaign to finalize funding and finish our film, ‘Fight for Space’. The Mars Generation is upon us, ready to take the #NextGiantLeap. Let’s refocus our priorities as a collective society and open the frontier for them and for us all.

Explore further: view our entire list of featured interviewees, download visible media to show your support, share our press release, and view more clips from the film!

Demand more from your space program. #FightforSpace

45 years ago, Apollo 13 launched on April 11th, 1970

The phrase “Tough and Competent” was created by NASA Flight Director Gene Kranz and became the rallying cry of NASA and the Mission Control crew after the Apollo 1 disaster.

“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.” - The Kranz Dictum

Gene Kranz served as Flight Director for a number of NASA milestones, including Apollo 11, the “successful failure” of Apollo 13, and the repair of the Hubble Space Telescope in 1994. Please be sure to checkout another great video from our friend Mike Dawson and his Assignment Universe project.

Watch “Gene Kranz - Mission Control: Tough & Competent” here: