Principia College will present “Failure Is Not an Option” through its George A. Andrews Distinguished Speaker Series on Thursday, November 13, at 7:30 p.m. in Cox Auditorium.

“Houston, we have a problem.” These words, uttered by Captain James Lovell during the dramatic events of the Apollo 13 mission, are now part of the American lexicon.

Apollo 13, which launched on April 11, 1970, was to be NASA’s third mission to land on the moon, but the landing was aborted when an oxygen tank exploded after about 56 hours of flight, crippling the service module. The three astronauts were faced with the possibility of becoming marooned in space. Oxygen was running short, carbon dioxide accumulations had begun to climb, and the cabin temperature had dropped. If they were to navigate the spacecraft back to Earth, they would have to enter its atmosphere at precisely the right angle. 

Through teamwork and decisive leadership, the crew modified the lunar module, orbited the Moon without landing, and returned safely to Earth. Lovell later called the Apollo 13 mission “a successful failure,” and Kranz described it as “NASA’s finest hour.” President Richard Nixon awarded Lovell, Haise, and Kranz the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1970.

Admission is complimentary for Principia students, faculty, staff, retirees, and their immediate families and $15 for the public. Seating is unreserved; doors open at 6:30 p.m. Arrive by 7:00 p.m. to hear musical selections from the Apollo 13 movie soundtrack and see a multimedia presentation of the Apollo 13 mission.

The talk will also be broadcast live on Principia Internet Radio:

About Principia College: Principia College is a century-old co-educational institution whose campus, designed by Bernard Maybeck and located on 300-foot bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River in Elsah, Illinois, has been designated a National Historic Landmark. Historically, the College has placed significant emphasis on educating its students for global citizenship. Today’s student body represents 36 states and 32 nations. Principia College is an NCAA Division III school.

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