18 June 2008

NASA flight directors and astronauts team up with Soldiers' Angels to support wounded service members

The "Failure is Not an Option" blanket, signed by NASA astronauts and flight directors.

Readers of this blog are familiar with Soldiers' Angel Joan Kranz who works at NASA's Johnson Space Center. Her father is retired Flight Director Eugene Kranz, best known for his role in directing the successful Mission Control team efforts to save the crew of Apollo 13, during which he coined the famous "failure is not an option" motto.

Gene Kranz in Mission Control during the Apollo 16 mission.

On the morning following the Apollo I disaster which killed 3 astronauts, Kranz made an address to the flight control team. Later known as The Kranz Dictum, it articulated the values which became his legacy to NASA:

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.

Kranz continues to be an inspiration to others today, as demonstrated by this story which took place during a shuttle launch last year.

Kranz autographs a blanket for a wounded service member.

As a Soldiers' Angel, one of Joan's projects has been making blankets like the one above. She then asks her Dad, current astronauts and flight directors to sign the blankets. Autographed photos, mission patches, and other momentos go in to a NASA binder. And an autographed copy of Gene Kranz's book, Failure is Not an Option completes the package before it is sent.

This blanket was signed by astronauts Kevin Ford, Terry Virts, Hans Schlegel, Tim Kopra, John Phillips, Chris Hadfield, Pamela Melroy, Jim Dutton, Kevin Ford, Rex Walheim, Terry Virts, Alvin Drew, Tony Antonelli, Steve Robinson, Tracy Caldwell, Leland Melvin, Steve Swanson, Randy Bresnik, Stan Love, and Joe Acaba, as well as flight directors John McCullough, Matt Abbott, Mike Moses, Kwatsi Alibaruho, Brian Smith, Chris Edelen, Richard Jones, Norman Knight, Bryan Lunney (son of another Apollo 13 Flight Director, Glynn Lunney), Kelly Beck, Ginger Kerrick, Tony Ceccacci, Rick LaBrode, Paul Dye, Joel Montalbano, and simulation supervisor Dave Pitre.

What a great expression of support and encouragement. Well done Joan, and our thanks to everyone at the Johnson Space Center who participated.

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