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Am I the only one that has a problem with this???

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SDramstad

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My wife and I went to Florida last June and went by KSC. Had a great time looking through the displays, tours and exhibits. Been wanting to do that since I was a kid in the 60's. Anyway in all of the gift shops they had things (T-shirts, bumper stickers, etc...) With the logo. "Failure is not an option" . Am I the only one with a problem with this? If you don't fail once in awhile you aren't pushing hard enough! If you are too afraid of failure you never really push hard enough. You get stuck with what you know works and never really advance. How about "Quitting is not an option" instead????

Rant off......
 

Bat-mite

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Your points are valid, but maybe you are reading too much into it. I believe the slogan is referring to manned spaceflight, in which case, failure is absolutely not an option. They have to have their failures in simulation, in training, in preparation, etc. Once the people are in the vehicle on the launch pad, then failure is not acceptable.
 

Worsaer

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My wife and I went to Florida last June and went by KSC. Had a great time looking through the displays, tours and exhibits. Been wanting to do that since I was a kid in the 60's. Anyway in all of the gift shops they had things (T-shirts, bumper stickers, etc...) With the logo. "Failure is not an option" . Am I the only one with a problem with this? If you don't fail once in awhile you aren't pushing hard enough! If you are too afraid of failure you never really push hard enough. You get stuck with what you know works and never really advance. How about "Quitting is not an option" instead????

Rant off......
It's a famous quote from the Apollo program, and was related to solving difficult problems when people's lives were dependent on the outcome. But you already know that, right?
 

Bat-mite

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And, of course, Mythbusters turned it on its head, and made "Failue is always an option" one of its taglines.
 

SDramstad

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In the early days of military test flights, if they only lost one test pilot in 5 it was an unqualified success. In the 1600s in the early days of large sailing ships, if only one ship out of a fleet of 5 came back it was a success. When did we cross the line to where any loss is a disaster??? To where whole programs would shut down if the success rate wasn't 100%? Space flight is dangerous. Any astronaut knows that and has accepted the fact that they may not make it back. Why do we still think failure is unacceptable? We learn more from our failures then we do from our successes. ISTM NASAs current stagnation is due to this attitude more then anything else. Am I the only one with this opinion??
 

Zeus-cat

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The phrase was written for the movie and Gene Kranz never said it with regards to Apollo 13. As a general rule you are correct that it is a bad concept; without failures you aren't learning or pushing hard enough. I always felt that the movie character was referring specifically to bringing the three astronauts of Apollo 13 home safely. So I believe as a motivational speech it works in that situation. Failure was not an option that the team was allowed to consider.
 

Bat-mite

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I think we place a higher value on human life today that we did centuries or even decades ago. I think that's a good thing.

Anyway, Zeus-cat is right. Failure happens, but it is not an acceptable outcome. "Oh, well, let's just fail" should not be in anyone's mind. If you fail, it is unexpected and tragic, not "one of many choices."
 

SDramstad

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If failure is not an option, why do it at all?? In the push to go to Mars I can guarantee we will lose people, it's inevitable. Since we know that and "Failure is not an option" is our mantra then we shouldn't even try. We will lose people. There is no avoiding that. So why do it at all? We need to look at acceptable levels of risk, knowing that it will never be zero. We need to do what we reasonably can to reduce risk but then we need to DO IT! And not be afraid of it! And we need to know that when the inevitable accidents happen that we will still go on. To quit is the worst possible insult to the people we have lost.
 

Bat-mite

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You're getting all wrapped around the axle based on semantics. "Option" means "choice." When does NASA, or any organization, for that matter, choose to fail? Failure happens when you take your best shot at success, but realize too late that there is something you didn't know, or weren't able to plan for.

Imagine the press conference if the director of NASA steps up to the mic, and says, "Ladies and gentlemen of the press, we lost three brave astronauts today when we launched a vehicle that we knew would fail. We chose to fail because there was valuable information to be learned through failure. We have already sent our condolences to the families, and they have informed us that they are thankful that we chose failure. We are now looking for volunteers to man our next spaceflight, which will also be designed to fail so that we can gain even more valuable information."
 

dr wogz

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I see it as the tag line form the movie. that's all. that's all people these days relate to..



I much prefer the little meatball on the chest golf type shirt, or the larger meatball on the dark T-shirt. or a simple meatball on a solid coloured cotton cap. I do like their line of 'Hawaiian shirts' though, way cool.

I really really want to find / replace my prized souvenir shirt; a full button down bowling style, blue & white. Big meatball on the back 9wth two white 'expansion slits) and a column of meatballs down a white stripe on the left & right sides on the front. It was on the 50% rack, snapped it up! Never seen one again.. even an internet search reveals nothing..
 

Mushtang

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When did we cross the line to where any loss is a disaster???
April 14, 1970.
Gene Kranz never said that quote, but that's the way the space program as a whole felt during the Apollo 13 rescue mission - it wasn't okay not to bring them home alive.
 

SDramstad

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You're getting all wrapped around the axle based on semantics. "Option" means "choice." When does NASA, or any organization, for that matter, choose to fail? Failure happens when you take your best shot at success, but realize too late that there is something you didn't know, or weren't able to plan for.

Imagine the press conference if the director of NASA steps up to the mic, and says, "Ladies and gentlemen of the press, we lost three brave astronauts today when we launched a vehicle that we knew would fail. We chose to fail because there was valuable information to be learned through failure. We have already sent our condolences to the families, and they have informed us that they are thankful that we chose failure. We are now looking for volunteers to man our next spaceflight, which will also be designed to fail so that we can gain even more valuable information."


You are taking it too far in the other direction. What I am saying is that the "Failure is not an option" is completely unrealistic. They wont do anything that has even the slightest chance of failure. They try so hard to make everything "perfect" that they get bogged down to the point of analysis paralysis. Spending billions of dollars and years of effort to just find out if a plan is feasible, and by the time they figure that out it is canceled anyway. In the 60's we developed 3 different systems from scratch, (mercury,gemini and apollo) but Constellation was going to take 20 years all by itself? And then was cancelled before they could do it. This is one thing I find refreshing about Spacex. During testing of Grasshopper they publicly announced that if it didn't crash then they didn't push it hard enough. If they didn't destroy it it would be a failure. Thats the attitude we need
 

Andy Limper

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Plus. As Kranz says in his own book. He never said "failure is not an option"
 

Mushtang

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During testing of Grasshopper they publicly announced that if it didn't crash then they didn't push it hard enough. If they didn't destroy it it would be a failure. Thats the attitude we need
Big difference in testing unmanned rockets and flying manned rockets! During the 50s and 60s NASA had MANY failures, pad explosions, crashes, etc. SpaceX will be just as careful when carrying humans in space as NASA was, and will not think that if they don't kill some humans then they're not pushing hard enough.

I think you probably realize this.
 

SDramstad

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I do realize that. My point though is that NASA is promoting zero risk in a high risk business. It is just not realistic. And it is keeping us from advancing.
 

rstaff3

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I think the saying is perfectly fine as it is a good rallying cry for everyone to work hard and do their best. I doubt that anyone is promoting zero risk. That being said, I believe that NASA is more risk averse than they were during the 60's. Part of the problem IMO is the hypercricital congress-critters.
 

rstaff3

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Oh, Chipotle is always an option. It isn't zero risk either.
 

rstaff3

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Whoosh...The sound of your earlier post going over my head....
 

Zeus-cat

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Plus. As Kranz says in his own book. He never said "failure is not an option"
Wasn't the title of the book, "Failure is not an option"? Pretty ironic...

And as I said before, the phrase was meant to motivate people to get the Apollo 13 astronauts back. Just like the "Go out and win one for the Gipper", or if you are an Airplane fan, "Go out and win one for the Zipper".

Back in the 60's we had to beat the Soviets. So if rockets blew up it was OK as long as we made progress. In today's world a lot of people frown on failure and on science. So when some program has a setback the wolves smell blood and come out for the kill. As a result, NASA and other programs really ramp up the checks, double checks and triple checks. The attitude in so many programs is we need to spend a dollar to make sure we don't waste ten cents.
 

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The extreme value of every life is a creation of the media. If someone is hurt or killed they seek everyone who knew them so every tear can be seen and cry can be heard, all to boost ratings and revenues.
The appearance of risk is a good thing, oh they are so brave but real risk is not allowed.
Mars is just a way to drain monies to the right people. Unless there is a huge jump in technology it is a one way trip, no hero to interview on CNN, no ticker tape parades. There is no money is reports of the " New Martians" slowly dieing from radiation. The public (the pseudo one created by the media) will never allow it to happen.
 

KennB

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How about "Quitting is not an option" instead????
Quitting is definitely and option and, sometimes, the smart choice.

As a society, we love our sound bites short and sweet (or not so sweet). At five words, "Failure is not an option" is rather lengthy by today's standards; look at how Dirty Harry's catchphrase for each movie got shorter and shorter as the series went on.

So remember, if at first you don't succeed,
1) try second base
2) quit, no sense making a damn fool of yourself.
3) ... oh, alright, I'll quit.
 

jadebox

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"Feigned offense is always an option ..." :)
 

georgegassaway

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It's a famous quote from the Apollo program, and was related to solving difficult problems when people's lives were dependent on the outcome.
Gene Kranz during Apollo-13. A real-life event and quote, also portrayed in the movie.

[video=youtube;OZuUwcl_wT8]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZuUwcl_wT8[/video]


Also, the title of Gene Kranz' autobiography:



And this documentary about Flight Control History at NASA:

[video=youtube;7f51Jzm7M4w]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7f51Jzm7M4w[/video]
 
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OverTheTop

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As with most things, failure is always an option, it is just that we don't get to choose all the factors. It comes down to the probability distribution function of the system. We can skew it by being more or less attentive to details and unknowns, but nearly always there is a possibility of some sort of failure.

As I think was mentioned before, we also assign emotional value to the failure which can skew its worth, or the effort we expend in lowering the probability of it occurring.
 

T-Rex

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If you think that the world is not pushing for zero failure, you are wrong. The concept of "Failure is not an option" is all over the place. We have had failures in the space program (Challenger and Columbia), in the submarine program (Thresher), in the airline industry (many examples) etc. Back in the day people learned from failure and moved on. We all learned to walk by failing.

The "failure is not an option" concept has generated rules and laws that make actually getting work done nearly impossible. No one is allowed to get hurt. Accidents are all preventable. "You" must have done something wrong, because "we" have all of these rules and policies that prevent accidents & injuries. "They" desire to take the humanity out of everything.........

Oh, what's that....oh, that's not what we're talking about..... Ok, never mind...
 
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