Gene Kranz - Mission Control: Tough & Competent





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Published on Jul 18, 2014

Gene Kranz - Mission Control: Tough & Competent

The phrase "Tough and Competent" was created by NASA Flight Director Gene Kranz and became the rallying cry of NASA and the Mission Control crew after the Apollo 1 disaster that killed NASA astronauts Ed White, Gus Grissom and Roger Chaffee on January 27, 1967.

Gene Kranz said in the NASA History Office archives:

"I tend to be maybe one of the more emotional of the controllers. I believed that that's part of a leader's responsibility, to get his people pumped up, and I gave what my controllers came to know as the "tough and competent" speech, and concluded the talk identifying that the problem throughout all of our preparation for Apollo 1 was the fact that we were not tough enough; we were avoiding our responsibilities, we had not assumed the accountability we should have for what was going on during that day's test. We had the opportunity to call it all off, to say, "This isn't right. Let's shut it down," and none of us did. So basically the toughness was from that day forward we would stand for doing everything right, literally being perfect and competent."

Gene Kranz served as NASA Flight Director until his retirement in1994 . He is the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Gene Kranz NASA Biography:


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Find Gene Kranz's interview excerpt transcript at:


NASA | Gene Kranz - Mission Control: Tough & Competent

Produced by Mike Dawson and Assignment Universe
Edited by Alin Bijan - Media World

Music: "Tiangong" by Steven Price (WaterTower Music) from the Motion Picture "Gravity"(Warner Brothers, Esperanto Filmo, Heyday Films)

Video Credits: Gene Kranz Interview courtesy of: NASA Johnson Space Center Oral History Project. Interview by Roy Neal on April 28, 1999

Randy Pausch "The Last Lecture" courtesy of: Jai Glasgow Pausch, Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science

Neil deGrasse Tyson Space Foundation 28th Symposium Keynote address courtesy of: Space Foundation - space foundation.org

NASA Headquarters, Washington D.C.
NASA Johnson Space Center History Program Office
NASA Johnson Space Center Oral History Project
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory - Caltech

Special Thanks: Penny4NASA, Kevin Cook - Space Foundation, Sandra Johnson - NASA JSC History Office, Cleah Schlueter - Carnegie Mellon University

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