Eugene F. "Gene" Kranz

Eugene F. "Gene" Kranz

Read profile as published in the program book (pdf).

Read press release (Word document). See the 2007 Agenda, and the 2007 Press pages for photos and speakers from the banquet.

Mr. Kranz was born on August 17, 1933, in Toledo Ohio, and received his BS Degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Parks College of Saint Louis University in 1954.

He was commissioned in the U.S. Air Force in 1954, and flew high performance jet fighter aircraft including the F-80, F-86, and the F-100. In 1958 he served as a Flight Test Engineer at Holloman AFB, New Mexico, for McDonnell Aircraft developing the Quail Decoy Missile for the B-47 and B-52 aircraft. He was discharged from the Air Force Reserve as a Captain in 1972.

Mr. Kranz is married to the former Marta I. Cadena of Eagle Pass, Texas. The family has six children.

In 1960, Mr Kranz joined the NASA Space Task Group at Langley Virginia and was assigned as Assistant Flight Director for Project Mercury. He assumed Flight Director duties for all Project Gemini Missions, and was the Branch Chief for Flight Control Operations.

Mr. Kranz was selected as Division Chief for Flight Control in 1968, and continued his duties as Flight Director for the Apollo Program. He was the Flight Director for many Apollo missions including the Apollo 11 lunar Landing, and he led the "Tiger Team" for the successful return of the Apollo 13 crew.

He performed as both a Flight Director and Flight Operations Director for the Skylab program, and, at its conclusion, was assigned as Deputy Director of Flight Operations with responsibility for space flight planning, training and mission operations, aircraft operations and astronaut operations.

In 1983, Mr. Kranz was assigned as Director of Mission Operations with responsibilities for all aspects of mission design, testing, planning, training and spaceflight operations. Additionally he was responsible for the design, development, maintenance, and operations of all related mission facilities, as well as the preparation of the Shuttle flight software. In this capacity, he was responsible for over 6000 employees with an annual budget of approximately $750 million.

Mr Kranz retired from NASA in March 1994 after 37 years of federal service. Current activities include consulting and motivational speaking to professional, civic and youth groups. He is a Flight Engineer on a B-17 "Flying Fortress," performing at Airshows throughout the United States. Since retirement, he has completed building an aerobatic biplane, with engine testing and estimated first flight in the summer of 2002.

Mr. Kranz was a co-recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded by President Nixon for the Apollo 13 Mission, and was designated a Distinguished member of the Senior Executive Service by President Reagan.

Mr. Kranz was the author of the "Spaceflight" section of the 1984 and 1988 World Book Encyclopedia.

Mr. Kranz is a New York Times best selling author. His book Failure is Not an Option was published by Simon and Schuster in April 2000 and in paperback by Berkley Books in 2002. The book chronicles his work in Mission Control from Project Mercury through Apollo 13 and beyond. The book was selected by the History Channel as the basis for two documentary programs on Mission Control broadcast as two-hour specials in August 2003 and 2005.

Special honors include:

Honorary Doctor of Engineering Degree from the Milwaukee School of Engineering, 1996.
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics: Lawrence Sperry Award, 1967;
Theodore Von Karman Lectureship, 1994.
American Astronautical Society: AAS Fellow, 1982; Spaceflight Award 1987.
The National Space Club; Astronautics Engineer of the Year Award, 1992.
Downtown Jaycees of Washington D.C. Arthur S. Fleming Award - One of ten outstanding young men in government service in 1970
Saint Louis University: Alumni Merit Award, 1968; Founders Award, 1993.
Robert R. Gilruth Award, 1988, North Galveston County Jaycees.
Recipient of the 1995 History of Aviation Award for the "Safe return of the Apollo 13 Crew," Hawthorne, California.
Louis Bauer Lecturer, Aerospace Medical Association, 2000
Selected for "2004 and 2006 Gathering of Eagles" honoring Aerospace and Aviation Pioneers at the Air Force Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Alabama
John Glenn Lecture, Smithsonian Air and Space Museum — 2005
Lloyd Nolen, Lifetime Achievement in Aviation Award — 2005
Wright Brothers Lecture — Wright Patterson AFB — 2006
NASA Ambassador of Exploration 2006

NASA Honors:

Distinguished Service Medal- 1970, 1982, and 1988.
Outstanding Leadership Medal- 1973, 1993
Exceptional Service Medal- 1969 and 1970.
SES Meritorious Executive- 1980, 1985 and 1992.

Biographical data current as of 7/19/2006

ERRATA: On page 26 of the 2007 book, the final line of the "Foundations of Mission Control" text box is missing. The final part of: "To recognize that the greatest error is not to have tried and..." is "failed, but that in trying, we did not give it our best effort." The editor apologizes for not catching this error.

High resolution photos available by request.

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