Discovering Success

My disclaimer: I have grown up and have lived in Houston all my life. NASA has weaved its way in and out of my memories and continues to be a part of my life because 1) you support the hometown institutions and 2) various family members have or currently, including Mr. Rochester, earn a living engineering for NASA.

That being said, I do not always know when the media at large makes mistakes about the NASA program unless they are so grossly wrong that I wonder if they even fact check their stories. Because of the Discovery mission and the previous tragedies of Columbia and Challenger, NASA has been in the news quite a bit these past couple of weeks. I have not posted too much about it, but I could not have worded it any better than Gene Krantz did this morning in the New York Times. (registration req. Go to for login)

I understand the tragedy inherent in risk-taking; I witnessed the fire aboard Apollo 1 in 1967 that killed three crew members. It filled us with anger at ourselves and with the resolve to make it right. After the fire we didn’t quit; we redesigned the Apollo command module. During the Apollo missions that followed, we were never perfect. But we were determined and competent and that made these missions successful.

There is an unknown level of risk in exploration. From Marco Polo to Lewis and Clark to our own astronauts, they understand that to advance, we must take risks and not hide from danger. We should not court failure, but we should be willing to fail so that we may succeed greatly.

–Jane, failing is sometimes part of the success