Essay on Leadership on Apollo 13

Essay on Leadership on Apollo 13

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Eugene Kranz Returns Apollo 13 to Earth

Case Study #1

Eugene Kranz Returns Apollo 13 to Earth

On April 13, 1970, NASA's Mission Control heard the five words that no control center ever wants to hear: "We've got a problem here." Jack Swigert, an astronaut aboard the Apollo 13 aircraft, reported the problem of broken down oxygen tanks to the Houston Control Center, less than two days after its takeoff on April 11th. Those at the Control Center in Houston were unsure what had happened to the spacecraft, but knew that some sort of explosion had occurred. This so-called explosion sent Apollo 13 spinning away from the Earth at 2,000 miles per hour, 75 percent of the way to the moon. In order to get the astronauts back to the Earth's atmosphere would be to utilize the moon's gravitational pull and send them back towards home, like a slingshot. However, this procedure would require three days, and this demanded more oxygen and electricity than the crew had available to them. Eugene "Gene" Kranz, head of this flight mission, although looking on in horror, began thinking of solutions to the problem immediately after the Controls were aware of the problem on board. Knowing that the options of refueling the spacecraft with oxygen or retrieve the astronauts himself, he needed to think of a strategy for a safe return. In this sense, if his solution fails, it could result in the biggest catastrophe in NASA history.

There were dozens of people ready on the ground to assist this cause in whatever way possible, but no one helped this mission survive like Eugene "Gene" Kranz, especially that all final call decisions were in his hands. However, this also gave him the ability to break or bend the rules if necessary, whatever...

... middle of paper ...

...y to delegate, and task efficiency. When Eugene needed answers, he asked specific questions. When he needed something done by a colleague, he asked specifically, to avoid confusion. Three specific characteristics that Eugene Kranz possessed in order to get this mission completed were reassuring the crew and members in the Houston Controls Center, devising a plan that was thorough and specific, and self-discipline in order to ensure that the correct steps were taken and that no guessing was involved (to avoid error).

Also, Eugene Kranz had a lot of pessimism on his back to begin with when he was first made aware of the problem with the Apollo 13. Many people didn't think that there was a surviving chance for the astronauts, and in the end, the Houston Control Center, under the command of Eugene Kranz, was able to save the lives of three lucky, yet brave, men.

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