Minute 078: Failure is Not an Option

April 08, 2020

Gene Kranz wants the ship back “with time to spare.”

“We’ve never lost an American in space,” says Kranz, “We’re sure not gonna lose one on my watch! Failure is not an option!”

In Mattingly’s apartment, his phone is off the hook.  John Young has the apartment manager open the door to Apartment Five.

“Ken? Ken?” called Young, as he walks through the apartment looking for Mattingly. “Good, you’re not dead. I’ve been trying to get in touch with you for forty-five minutes.” He turns on the bedroom light.

“Jesus, John – what are you doing here?” says Mattingly, still waking up. Young turns on another light.

“We’ve got to get you in the simulators. We’ve got a ship to land,” replies John Young.

“What?” says Ken, as Young turns on the bathroom light.

“There’s been an explosion,” says John Young. “Oxygen tanks are gone, two fuel cells gone, the Command Module’s shut down.”

“What about the crew?” asks Mattingly.

“The crew’s fine so far,” replies Young. “Trying to keep them alive in the LM. We’re gonna have to shut that down again pretty soon, too. We’ve got a lotta people working the numbers on this one, Ken, and nobody’s too sure about how much power we’re gonna have when we hit reentry. The Command Module’s going to be frozen up pretty good by then. ”

Later, in the simulator room, John Aaron turns on an ammeter.

“If you see this ammeter rise up over twenty, the power-up is no good,” says Aaron. “If you see it spike, that’s sayonara for the guidance computer. Our guys can’t reenter, okay?”

“How much power do we- ” begins another engineer.



Ed Harris as Gene Kranz

Loren Dean as John Aaron

Gary Sinese as Ken Mattingly

Ben Marley as John Young

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