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Essay about The “Successful Failure” That Was Apollo 13

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The “Successful Failure” That Was Apollo 13
Shortly after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed and walked successfully on the Moon for the first time in history, another lunar mission almost ended in disaster without the valor and strong leadership it took to get three men back to Earth. Jim Lovell (played by Tom Hanks), Jack Swiggert (played by Kevin Bacon), and Fred Haise (played by Bill Paxton) blasted off on the Apollo 13 mission on April 11, 1970, in trying to collect samples from the surface of the Moon and survey it. Swiggert took the place of the more experienced Ken Mattingly (played by Gary Sinese) since Mattingly was the only one not immune to the measles after one of the other astronauts had contracted it. The flight surgeon on the trip ordered him to remain aground to keep both himself and the crew healthy during the flight.
After safely exiting the Earth’s atmosphere and heading on course, a routine oxygen tank stir that was required often during space missions caused a coil in the tank to break loose and erupt, creating new unforeseen problems. The blast forced open most of the oxygen tanks as they leaked into space, increased the levels of carbon dioxide within the command module the men were traveling in, and severely decreased their power capabilities. Immediately NASA assembled the best and brightest men they had on staff to assess the situation and Flight Director Gene Kranz (played by Ed Harris) called off the Moon landing, changing the final task of the mission to a safe return home. Through repeated calculation, experimentation by Ken Mattingly who knew the module systems well, and a bit of luck, the men managed to slingshot themselves around the Moon, using its gravity to head back home on course. With...


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...ntrast to the stereotypical “hero” stories where a reactive call to action is committed even though they previously failed to show leadership skills. Also I discovered that the parties involved shared similar leadership traits and each movie character can be easily traced and tied to multiple theories or skills. This shows the success of the group was almost predetermined before the accident occurred due to the experience, knowledge, and skill sets these men offered. Finally I learned that recreations of true events often correlate to actual leadership traits, which evokes me to revisit other films based on real occurrences and observe them in a deeper manner; provoking further insight and expansion into my mind about how these events parallel through leadership and quantify the importance the traits and theories presented above can maintain in all aspects of life.



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