Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Failure is not an option

"Failure is not an option" Apollo 13 postcard
Where I work, we have a postcard on the wall of the conference room that was sent to us from the Kennedy Space Center by an employee's husband a few years ago. It shows the Apollo 13 mission patch next to the mission motto, "Failure is not an option." The postcard hangs as a reminder that our work is important, that we must not fail. But more often, when I look at it, as I do frequently during long meetings, I think of the Apollo 13 astronauts, James Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise, and how close we came to losing them back in April 1970 after an explosion aboard their spacecraft.

When the motto was decided on, the people at NASA must have been thinking specifically of the importance of the mission's success as only the third manned trip to the moon. They could not have foreseen that the motto would take on an entirely different meaning: Failure to bring the astronauts home alive is not an option.

The tremendous effort and ingenuity that went into saving the astronauts' lives are an inspiration to me every day that virtually anything is possible if we set our minds to it.

Now it's back to work...

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