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Eugene F. Gene Kranz was born on August 17, 1933 in Toledo, Ohio (USA). He is an engineer and was flight director during the Gemini Project and the NASA Apollo Project.
Gene Kranz from an early age became interested in aerospace issues, studied Aeronautical Engineering at Parks College and graduated in 1954. He was then admitted to the USAF Air Force, where he served four years in South Korea as a pilot.
Race at NASA
In 1960, Kranz joined NASA demonstrating the skills and attitude of an innate leader who could be assigned tasks of increasing responsibility, then he was assigned to a Task Force in Fort Langley, Florida, as Assistant Director. of Flight for the Mercury Project.
In 1968, he was appointed head of the Missions Control Division and in 1970, he was promoted to flight director when the Apollo 13 mission was developed. Kranz printed on his work team the responsibilities of doing everything necessary to preparation of a mission, from the design of the mission, the drafting of the procedures, the development of the manuals and the organization of the control processes.
His characteristic haircut at zero along with his strong and charismatic personality earned him the nickname of steel-eyed missile man, which is how the members of NASA were called with more qualities in difficult situations. He had the habit of releasing an immaculate white vest made by his wife Marta, different for each mission in which he directed his team, the “White Team”.
He was one of the main flight directors when the Apollo XI landed in 1969 and also during the Apollo 13 crash in 1970, where he showed extraordinary control of himself and the anguished situation, courage and judgment.
The phrase “Failure is not an option” is attributed to him during an emergency meeting of Apollo 13. While he did not say that on the occasion, the phrase reflects the spirit of the effort to save the astronauts. Kranz liked the world-famous phrase so much that he took it as the title for his autobiography.
Thanks to his charisma, intelligence and leadership ability, he managed to save very difficult situations and bring them to fruition in the direction of space flights.
His last flight director was in December 1993, directing the space shuttle mission to repair the Hubble space telescope.
Gene Kranz in 2005.
He retired in March 1994, after 37 years of impeccable federal service, being awarded numerous prizes and recognitions, including the presidential Medal of Freedom award for distinguished services granted by Richard Nixon. In addition, President Ronald Reagan included him on his staff as a distinguished member of the Executive Service, and today is still considered one of the best leaders, with wide recognition among his colleagues at NASA.
Already retired, he wrote his autobiography, Failure is not an option and has appeared in documentaries of recognized channels on topics related to the space race.
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