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Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond

Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond [Kindle Edition]

Gene Kranz
4.5 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (31 Kundenrezensionen)

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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 whiz kids (such as himself), sharp engineers and technicians who had to create the Mercury mission rules and procedure 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 of 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 honors 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 fill the bill. --Stephanie Gold

From Booklist

The NASA controller best known for his role in Apollo 13 entitles his autobiography with his personal motto. Kranz's NASA career, which followed a short stint as a fighter pilot, began way back in the Mercury days, with Alan Shepard's 1961 suborbital flight and the painful process of testing the Atlas booster for manned missions. Besides Apollo 13, the high points of Kranz's narrative are John Glenn's orbital flight, the moon-orbiting Apollo 8, and the first moon landing, Apollo 11--experiences as profound for the mission control professionals as they were for TV audiences. In passing, Kranz provides a wealth of fascinating data, anecdotes, and personal sketches; pays a large tribute to long-suffering wives (and a few husbands); and makes abundantly clear the amount of improvisation and the number of narrow margins involved in the early days of manned space flight. A song popular in space-advocacy circles is "Here's to the Unsung Heroes"--the people on the ground, that is, one of whom has now sung himself, effectively and movingly. Roland Green


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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen
6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Fascinating and compulsively readable 13. Juni 2000
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Just a kid when the Mercury astronauts were first lofted skyward, I was more fascinated by what was going on in Mission Control than I was by what the astronauts themselves were doing, which was mostly just sitting there pushing buttons. I had no idea why dozens of men in the control room were sitting in front of seemingly identical monitors -- did they actually have real jobs, or was it all just for show? None of the television commentators ever bothered to explain what was going on in there.
Which is why Lost Moon, the book on which the movie "Apollo 13" was based, was such a revelation. Only then did we really learn that the extraordinarily complex spacecraft carrying the astronauts never functioned perfectly for more than five minutes at a time, and controlling a mission was about solving mind-numbing problems that were occurring thousands of miles away. That the men on the ground were the true heart of spaceflight was confirmed for me by the chapter in Failure Is Not an Option about the very first Apollo mission, which was flown from start to finish by Mission Control: there were no astronauts on board the vehicle.
Kranz, the buzz-cutted ex-test pilot who was the very personification of Mission Control (Ed Harris played him in "Apollo 13"), gives us an insider's view of that critical function, complete with fascinating stories of some of the more harrowing incidents that the public was only dimly aware of. Of equal interest are his observations about what it was like to build from scratch an organization for which little precedent existed.
At times repetitive and self-congratulatory, Failure Is Not an Option is nevertheless a compulsively readable, engineer's-eye perspective on what is arguably one of the two or three greatest technological triumphs in history. Like Lost Moon, it's only major fault is that it's entirely too short.
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8 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Helden hinter Konsolen ... 11. September 2007
Die Helden der Raumfahrt snd die Astronauten -- sollte man meinen. Das ist auch so, aber nicht weniger Hochachtung verdienen die Ingenieure, Techniker, Programmierer und Manager am Boden. In ihre nicht weniger aufregenden Welt entführt Gene Kranz seine Leser mit diesem autobiographischen Werk über die Anfänge von Mission Control bis hin zum Apollo-Programm. Man mag das Buch gar nicht wieder aus der Hand legen -- so spannend ist es geschrieben: "Houston, wir haben einen Bestseller!"

Kranz' Buch ist nicht nur für Raumfahrtinteressierte geeignet. Auch für Manager aus anderen Fachbereichen lohnt die Lektüre, da man nebenbei viel über Gruppendynamik und Krisenbewältigung erfährt.
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2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen A view you don't usually see 10. Juli 2000
Von Tim E.
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
If you're like me, the everything about the early days of space flight is captivating. I've read other accounts of this time period, including the incredibly in-depth michener novel "Space". What you don't often see is the view from the controller's booth. You don't see that often there was absolutely no data or voice communications between early spacecraft and the ground. You don't see the months of drills that Mission Control would stage, only to encounter problems that they could never have dreamed. Consequently, this account is a good read, and I enjoyed it. You may occasionally get bogged down by Franz's desire to name almost every person he can think of, as well as the endless acronyms. The jacket makes a big connection with Apollo 13. It is misleading because the book is far more comprehensive than that. Despite these shortcomings, I found it hard to put down and eye-opening.
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION 21. Juni 2000
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Gene Kranz was there from the start, a true pioneer. Starting with a blank page, the Mercury program, and progressing through Gemini and Apollo; developing the plans, procedures and mission goals to accomplish mankinds' greatest acheivement -- landing a man on the moon and safely returning him to earth.
Tough and competent, discipline and morale. Mr. Kranz defined the human spirit with these statements in a way you can in no way comprehend without reading this book.
The title says it all, FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION. Read it.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen We needed that book! 9. Mai 2000
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
After reading, and highly enjoying, books from many Apollo era astronauts (Shepard, Slayton, Lovell, Bean, Cernan, Collins), I wished I could learn more about the people living at the other end of the microphones, and about their work at developing, simulating and supporting America's first manned space missions.
I once clearly said to myself: "What we need is a book from Gene Kranz!". Just shortly later, I had the great surprise of finding that the said book was actually released. I immediately got it and found out that I was right. We did need to know about the complex aspects of the Mercury-Gemini-Apollo missions in a view somehow parallel from the astronaut's. It really made the whole picture clearer by looking at it from a different angle.
I was fascinated to learn that it all started with just a few guys, no teacher, no how-to-do sheets (and also with one few-inch flight!), and developed into very well organized and performing teams of highly capable and dedicated persons, who could efficiently get people to the Moon and back. The book really makes us figure the importance of the quite large, complex and competent support teams whose work was as crucial as the astronauts' for each mission to achieve its objectives, and for a country to reach its goal. I especially appreciated his way of introducing and give credit to each individual he felt was important in making the challenge of the century successful.
Thank you very much, Mr. Kranz, for spending the energy that allowed us to share the memories of someone who had the great opportunity to closely participate in such a key period of mankind history. Many thanks for letting us in the Mercury-Gemini-Apollo Mission Control rooms. After reading your book, I couldn't agree more with you: it really does look like the next best place to be from the spacecraft.
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Die neuesten Kundenrezensionen
5.0 von 5 Sternen Non fiction page turner
Fascinating read, a real page turner for anyone remotely interested in aerospace and in the adventure of manned space flight.
Vor 7 Monaten von Dirk H. veröffentlicht
5.0 von 5 Sternen A highly enjoyable book.
I really loved this book. One thing I would have like a little more of is a little more detail on the astronaut/in-space portion of the missions.
Vor 7 Monaten von Hardy Boehm veröffentlicht
4.0 von 5 Sternen Raumfahrt-Thriller, aber echt
Kranz beschreibt die Mission Control und die Teams, welche die U.S. amerikanische Raumfahrt von Ihren allerersten Tagen an begleitet haben. Lesen Sie weiter...
Vor 19 Monaten von Gregor Huettner veröffentlicht
5.0 von 5 Sternen Ein Muss für jeden Kenner - von "Mr. Cool" persönlich!
Eine wirklich spannende Lektüre! Gene Kranz ist ganz unbestritten der '"Mr. Cool"' von Mission Control und gibt in seinem Buch interessante und amüsante Einblicke in sein... Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 2. Juli 2012 von anonym
5.0 von 5 Sternen Höchst empfehlenswert!
Ich kann mich der Rezension von Nethegauner nur anschließen, dieses Buch ist sehr lesenswert!
Nach anfänglicher Skepsis, mich auf ein knapp 400-seitiges ENGLISCHES... Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 5. Februar 2011 von Michael Gottwald
4.0 von 5 Sternen Toller Einblick in die damaligen Abläufe, aber...
etwas viel Selbstbeweihräucherung und amerikanischer Patriotismus. Sicherlich war das damals so und die Leute müssen so denken, um ihre Leistung zu bringen. Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 10. Januar 2010 von Nachrichtentechniker
5.0 von 5 Sternen Failure Is Not an Option
Amazing and thrilling story from someone who was part of the history. The unquestioned head of mission control, the follower of Chris Kraft. Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 3. Juli 2003 von "renatebohne"
5.0 von 5 Sternen Einfach Fantastisch!!
Ein MUSS für jede Space Freak!
Am 30. Oktober 2001 veröffentlicht
5.0 von 5 Sternen This book is the only one.
If you want to know, how a Mission Control leader feels, then read this book. I know, thatr it isn't out now, but as the small version of this book, it'll be better for longer... Lesen Sie weiter...
Am 20. März 2001 veröffentlicht
5.0 von 5 Sternen How it kept me on my seat
To me this book is a very good book it keeps me wanting to read his book. I have read many other spaceflight books but this one tops them all. Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 27. Juli 2000 von Sandy Bauer
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It isnt equipment that wins the battles; it is the quality and the determination of the people fighting for a cause in which they believe. &quote;
Markiert von 42 Kindle-Nutzern
Leadership is fragile. It is more a matter of mind and heart than resources, and it seemed that we no longer had the heart for those things that demanded discipline, commitment, and risk. &quote;
Markiert von 33 Kindle-Nutzern
That is the first rule of flight control. If you dont know what to do, dont do anything! &quote;
Markiert von 32 Kindle-Nutzern

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