CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida – The best-known quotes from Apollo 13 are not from space or Mission Control, but from Hollywood.
Their moon-linked spacecraft sank by an oxygen tank explosion on April 13, 1970, the astronauts radioed an urgent message: “Houston, we had a problem here. “
Writers for the 1995 film “Apollo 13?” wanted to hit that. Thus was born “Houston, we have a problem”.
Even more artistic license was taken with the mobilization speech by NASA flight director Gene Kranz to his team in Houston.
Kranz never said, “Failure is not an option.”
Ask Kranz what he really said to the flight controllers, and he answers without hesitation half a century later.
“I have never lost an American in space, of course hell is not going to lose one now. This crew returns home. You must believe it. Your team must believe it. And we have to get there. “
Kranz said the filmmakers proposed “Failure is not an option. “
Would he like to have said it? “No – I am satisfied with what I said. “
Kranz constantly finds himself setting the record straight – “in fact, every time I speak.”
“I try not to plagiarize,” he said with a laugh.
He borrowed the phrase for the title of his 2000 autobiography.
Director Ron Howard’s film with Ed Harris as Kranz and Tom Hanks as mission commander Jim Lovell was based on Lovell’s 1994 autobiography “Lost Moon”. Actors Bill Paxton and Kevin Bacon represented Apollo 13 astronauts Fred Haise and Jack Swigert.
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