Gene Kranz makes motivational speech to Constellation workforce

by Chris Bergin

With 2008 being a crucial year for the development of the Ares and Orion vehicles, legendary Flight Director Gene Kranz has made a motivational call to arms for the Constellation workforce to “make it happen.”

Kranz made his comments in an heavily produced video that mapped out the heritage from as early as the Mercury program, up to the current development of the Ares I launch vehicle.

Huge amounts of VSE related insider news, presentations and videos – THE most comprehensive place to follow Ares/Orion development – are available for download on L2. See list at the end of this article.

All of this article is based on documented L2 information. For an overview of how L2 works, **click here for sample**




Recently presented with the Ambassador of Exploration Award, for his involvement in the US space program, Kranz’s address was directly aimed at the Constellation workforce, working on a vehicle (Ares I) that has several major challenges, including ‘red’ issues for functionality on five out of six subsystems, a complete overhaul and re-design of the Launch Abort System (LAS) on Orion, and the baselining of water landings for Orion 607.

Kranz’s address, in the video acquired by L2, does not speak of the problems that are challenging the Ares/Orion teams, but instead focuses on serving as a reminder that challenges have always existed, and that the teams of Kranz’s era managed to overcome them.

In the video, Kranz’s address is overlapped by footage from Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and the development of Ares/Orion. Below is the transcript:

‘What you’re looking at here is America’s drive to explore the moon, a space program coming back to life, a re-awakening, a renaissance, a re-dedication of our nation that will lead the way into the next chapter of human destiny.

‘It’s very exciting stuff, but you already know that, because you are the folks that are making it happen. I salute all of you that are on the team that will take us back to the moon and on to Mars.

‘You are today where I was about 45 years ago, when we decided to go to the moon for the first time, when we responded to President Kennedy’s challenge ‘we choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.’ You have a similar challenge, given to us by President Bush, and it is up to you to make it happen.

‘There are many similarities between our challenge to reach for the moon back in 1961 and your challenge today. The real similarity is the human factor, the people, the learning curve that you have in place that started many years earlier in a place called Cape Canaveral.

‘We have a marvellous array of technology, and text books are written. You have flight experience, and you have all the tools necessary to make this happen.

‘When we started in 1960, we had to write the books, we had to invent the technology. They are there, they are available to you, and you can make this next program happen.

‘Our learning curve, as we went through Mercury, Gemini and Apollo was very steep. With Mercury we learned of leaders and leadership – leaders must have integrity, they are up front, they challenge the team to accomplish their mission.

‘We also learned a lot about ourselves with Mercury, as a lot of us came in from aircraft testing, with egos as big as the room we worked in. We had to learn to leave our egos at the door and become a team, so we became one.

‘With Gemini, we had to cope with the new technologies of space, with fuel cells, computers and bi-propellant rocket engines. But again, after we had met the challenge of these new technologies, we continued to learn.

‘We learned discipline, a focus upon our objective that was so intense that we would never fail to achieve that objective.

‘We also learned the value of high morale, because with Mercury, we knew we were now succeeding because of our beliefs, in our mission, our team and ourselves. So as we entered into Apollo we had all the tools in place, as a team, to reach for the moon.

‘But we were bloodied by the Apollo I fire, and I hope that you should never had to go through a day like we did.

There we became tough and competent. Tough meant we were never going to walk away from our responsibilities, because we’re forever accountable for what we do, or what we fail to do. Competent, because we’re never going to take anything for granted, we’re never going to stop learning. From now on, the teams of Apollo are going to be perfect.

‘The challenges you (Ares/Orion teams) will face are going to be enormous, but you have history to provide you with the direction you need. You have leaders in place today, within this agency, who have come up through the program. They have faced these challenges before, they know how to respond to them.

‘You have an American public that is looking for you to succeed. They believe in you, they believe in space – and it is up to you to make these beliefs come true.

‘You have the moon and Mars that you can reach for. It’s a star, it’s a mystery, but if you set your aims high, you can accomplish any challenge you are faced with. But most of all you must believe in yourself, and you must believe in your team.

‘If you have that belief, you can make it happen.’

In Constellation news: MLAS (Max Launch Abort System) is picking up the pace, with a downselect carried out on various design concepts – one of which included a set of large fins, protruding from the circumference of the outer shell – radically changing the appearance of Ares I. An article will be forthcoming, via information in updated MLAS presentations, in the next few days.

In yet another Exploration management change, John J. ‘Tip’ Talone Jr – Director of the KSC Constellation Project Office, announced that he will retire on January 3, 2008, as per information acquired last month.

Selection of L2 Resources For Ares I, V and Constellation: 

MLAS Presentations and information (Several, updated to Dec 21. Over 60 Hi Res Images of Orion Mock-up at JSC (Hatch, Seats, Flight Deck) – December. Lunar Habitat Assembly. PRCB Presentations on hardware and infrastruction transition (from Palmdale to MLP Park) ‘Follow live’ Lightning Towers Construction images. Latest Mobile Launcher details. Orion/Ares I/Delta IV Heavy NEO Feasibility Study (Video). Constellation EVA Study Presentation. Superb Gene Kranz address to CxP workforce (Apollo to Orion feature) video. MOD ‘LEO to Mars’ presentations.

Superb Ares I Launch Ascent, Pad Abort Test CGI Videos (three). Integrated Stack (IS) Technical Interchange Meeting (TIM) notes – Nov 6 to Nov 15. The full ‘8th Floor News’ – Constellation Update (performance issues) – Nov 5. Ares I Mobile Launcher PMR.

‘Proposed’ Ares I SRBSF (Mini VAB) and graphic. LSAM (LDAC-1) Video and Images. Several Constellation All Hands Videos and Presentations. Ares I Pad Rollercoaster (Old and New presentation and slides – the very cool ‘CGI ride on the Ares pad coaster’ video. Ares I VAB ‘In-Line’ Stacking presentation slides.

Presentation of Ares/Orion impacts relating to Shuttle manifest acceleration. Ares I Interstage diagrams. Ares V Super Crawler. Ares I Launch Pad images (ML etc.) Hi Res images of Ares I-X Upper Stage. Orion 606-7 Data Updates. Updates Constellation launch schedule through to Orion 15. Orion Seat test photos. New ML Graphic and info. New Ares V graphic and baseline data. Large collection of hi res Orion paracute drop tests. SIX Part Series of Ares I Upper Stage Graphical Overviews. DAC-1C DDD Vast Slides on Vehicle Design. ATK First Stage Presentation. 39B Lightning Towers Slides. DAC-1C Departure points to DAC-2 Upper Stage Graphcs (Many Changes).

Orion/CEV Display Layout Presentation (40 pages). ATK figures on the 5-Seg Booster weight for CLV. Weather Shield (Rain Shield) for Orion on the pad. New Super hi-res images of Ares I. ATK Cutaway graphics of Ares I – perspective and axonometric. Ares I/Orion CxP 72031 Requirements Validation Matrix Information. CEV Paracute Assembly System (CPAS) Presentation.

Orion Launch Abort System (LAS) overview presentation. Changes to Ares I Upper Stage – expansive details and data. Ares I/Orion CxP 72031 Requirements Validation Matrix Information. CLV Umbilical Trade Matrix XLS. Vehicle interfaces for the DAC 1C version of Orion Ares. Ares I-X Test Flight Plan (full outline) Presentation. Ares I-X timeline and modification expanded info. Ares I Reference Trajectory. Boeing’s STS to Ares – Lessons Learned Presentation. CLV DAC-1C (Changes to CLV Upper Stage).

Ares I-X: Four Seg+Dummy ‘Tuna Can’ stage. Ascent Developmental Flight Test Presentation. CLV Pad 39B Handover Info and Latest. New images of CLV on top of new MLP and LUT. Lockheed Martin CEV/Orion Updates. ATK figures on the 5-Seg Booster weight for CLV.

90 Minute Video of Constellation all hands meeting. Escape System Trade Study Presentation. CEV-CLV Design Analysis Cycle Review (DAC-2) Presentation. Flight Design and Dynamics Division CEV update. CLV Mono-propellant RCS system. CEV pressurisation system review. CLV/CEV Configuration Images. The 2×3 Seg SRB Crew Launch Vehicle Option Presentation…plus more.

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