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Extended Audio Sample Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond, by Gene Kranz, Danny Campbell Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (1,107 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Gene Kranz, Danny Campbell Narrator: Danny Campbell Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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This memoir of a veteran NASA flight director tells riveting stories from the early days of the Mercury program through Apollo 11 (the moon landing) and Apollo 13, for both of which Kranz was flight director.

Gene Kranz was present at the creation of America’s manned space program and was a key player in it for three decades. As a flight director in NASA’s Mission Control, Kranz witnessed firsthand the making of history. He participated in the space program from the early days of the Mercury program to the last Apollo mission, and beyond. He endured the disastrous first years when rockets blew up and the United States seemed to fall further behind the Soviet Union in the space race. He helped to launch Alan Shepard and John Glenn, then assumed the flight director’s role in the Gemini program, which he guided to fruition. With his teammates, he accepted the challenge to carry out President John F. Kennedy’s commitment to land a man on the moon before the end of the 1960s.

Kranz recounts these thrilling historic events and offers new information about the famous flights. What appeared as nearly flawless missions to the moon were, in fact, a series of hair-raising near misses. When the space technology failed, as it sometimes did, the controllers’ only recourse was to rely on their skills and those of their teammates. He reveals behind-the-scenes details to demonstrate the leadership, discipline, trust, and teamwork that made the space program a success.

A fascinating firsthand account by a veteran mission controller of one of America’s greatest achievements, Failure is Not an Option reflects on what has happened to the space program and offers his own bold suggestions about what we ought to be doing in space now.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “An engaging behind-the-scenes memoir, a welcome contribution to the history of space flight.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Plenty of books (and several films) have already tried to depict the space program’s excitement; few of their creators had the first-person experience or the attention to detail Kranz has.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “These incredible stories will thrill listeners of all ages…Campbell’s delivery is steady and focused; he keeps listeners engaged for the duration of the book.”


Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Amanda | 2/20/2014

    " You know how I keep saying I'll review things later? That. Plus, I need to actually get around to doing that. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Betsy | 2/14/2014

    " While the astronauts were getting the glory of magazine covers and trips to the White House, members of the ground crew in Houston were quietly keeping the space program in motion. Gene Kranz, perhaps best known for serving as Flight Director during Apollo 13, was a sharp, well-respected manager and team leader. He began with NASA during the Mercury program and rose to great success within the organization. While this is a great autobiography for space buffs, it's also a great guidebook for business leaders, especially those who manage project teams. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by JParsons1974 Parsons | 2/5/2014

    " Give this book to someone who wants to be a leader. Kranzs' book is the Right Stuff for the Geek crowd. This book is a good a history of the early space program. Its also a book about leading during crisis. I wish I had read it when I was young. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Alex | 12/28/2013

    " Very good if sometimes dry account of the space race. "

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About the Author

Gene Kranz is a former NASA Mission Control flight director and the corecipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work leading the Apollo 13 teams.