[YDL2.0 EXCERPT 2] Learning From NASA's Mission Control

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One of the most productive and effective places on earth is in Houston, Texas. NASA's Mission Control utilised the latest technology to not only put a man on the moon in 1968 but were so well practised and dedicated to their cause they were able to bring back the astronauts of the fated Apollo 13 mission safely. 

Here's an excerpt from my forthcoming book explaining how they could do that. 

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"One of my favourite films of all time is the film, Apollo 13 starring Tom Hanks. The film is the story of the Apollo 13 moon landing mission in April 1970. The problems for Apollo 13 began about twelve hours into the mission when a simple procedure caused an explosion in the engine bay of the spaceship, which started a sequence of events that kept the whole world on tender hooks for four days. The question was, would the crew of Apollo 13 survive and make it back to earth safely?
What most people did not know at the time was the amount of planning and preparation the engineers at Mission Control Center in Houston did before every mission. It took months of testing scenarios, contingency planning and then more testing and simulating before a mission launched. The engineers and flight directors tested every conceivable scenario so they were prepared if anything went wrong. Nothing was overlooked. Unfortunately, one of the very few inconceivable events happened and Mission Control went into full crisis management mode. 
The most inspiring part of the whole Apollo 13 mission was the way Mission Control managed the problem. Once they had the spaceship stabilised and the crew safe, they went about planning the next steps. While the film does not show the timeline very well—it makes it look like all this happened over a few hours, in fact, the rescue mission took four days.—Each step was meticulously planned and tested in the flight simulators. Each problem and potential problem was evaluated and steps were planned to manage or mitigate those problems and a full re-entry to the earth’s atmosphere plan and a checklist was developed and tested before being given to the crew around fourteen hours before the re-entry phase began so they had time to check it themselves. 
The crew of Apollo 13 re-entered the earth’s atmosphere and returned to earth safely. The rescue mission and that is exactly what it was, was executed perfectly and it was all because the team and crew had trained for any eventuality and had plans in place to avert any disaster. 
In many ways, the productive person is like Mission Control Center. They have every potential problem covered. If anything goes wrong with any part of their work or day, they have a plan to quickly and efficiently overcome the problem. They have every possible permutation of scenarios covered, leaving them confident in whatever they do and free of stress and worry."