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Based on the best seller by Gene Kranz

Sunday, August 24 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT


New York, NY. No one lived the adventure of America's manned space program more fully than Gene Kranz, the Mission Control Flight Director known to moviegoers from Ed Harris's Oscar'nominated portrayal of him in the feature film Apollo 13. FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION is based on Gene Kranz's best'selling book. This world premiere program provides an insider's view of over 30 years of technological innovation and human determination, seen from the ground up. This is not just another space documentary - it is the untold story of the engineers in Mission Control. FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION premieres on The History Channel® on Sunday, August 24 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.

Three years after the Russians launched Sputnik and began the space race, Gene Kranz quit his job as an engineer working in aircraft test programs to join NASA. There he found a fledgling organization full of engineering "whiz kids" - recent college graduates who were pioneering daring new approaches to projects that had only been dreamed of. The men of Mission Control were intense, competitive and insulated. Yet these engineers refused to take no for an answer and worked miracles to help America win the space race. President Kennedy had challenged them to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade and they were determined to succeed.

FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION begins with NASA's earliest missions including Alan Shepard's nationally televised first manned space flight and John Glenn's famous Friendship'7 orbital flight. Gene Kranz's narrative recounts the unique perspective of the men on the ground during the thrilling missions that laid the groundwork for man's journey to the moon, offering personal insights and new stories of behind the scenes struggles, both technical and political.

The triumphs of the Mercury and Gemini missions paved the way for the Apollo missions, but tragedy struck Apollo 1. Gene Kranz and his controllers share their remembrances of the terrible fire that claimed the lives of three astronauts and brought an end to NASA's age of innocence. In one poignant scene, Kranz and his team struggle with guilt and memories that remain painful 36 years later. The story still resonates today; today's Mission Controllers will likely still be grappling with their own demons from the Columbia disaster decades from now.

FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION details how NASA recovered from the Apollo 1 tragedy to achieve a series of stunning successes. Gene Kranz gives viewers an unbelievable insider's guide to the Apollo 11 mission, during which Neil Armstrong took man's first steps on the lunar surface. Kranz's story of how he and his team overcame computer freezes and wound up putting astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin down with less than 15 seconds of fuel remaining is the definitive account of that milestone. Throughout the film, Kranz reveals that behind the bland public face of Mission Control there was plenty of white knuckle drama going on; what appeared to be nearly flawless missions to the moon were, in fact, a series of hair'raising near misses. He also revisits the “successful failure” of the Apollo 13 mission, in which Mission Control was presented with a never'before envisioned disaster after an explosion in space, and against all odds, managed to bring the astronauts back alive.

In addition to Gene Kranz, FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION features interviews with numerous flight controllers and astronauts who worked at NASA during the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions, including legendary flight director Chris Kraft and astronaut Jim Lovell - the captain of the Apollo 13 mission.

Executive Producer for The History Channel is Carl H. Lindahl. FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION is produced for The History Channel by Lone Wolf Pictures.

Now reaching 83.2 million Nielsen subscribers, The History Channel brings history to life in a powerful manner and provides an inviting place where people experience history personally and connect their own lives to the great lives and events of the past. The History Channel is the only place “Where the Past Comes Alive.™” The History Channel received the prestigious Governor's award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for the network's "Save Our History®" campaign dedicated to historic preservation and education. The History Channel web site is located at www.HistoryChannel.com.

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