MISC: Apollo 13 - the movie

Subject: MISC: Apollo 13 - the movie
From: Pat Madea <madea -at- MMSI -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 12 Jul 1995 20:40:33 MST

Techwr-lers,

I apologize in advance (AIA) if this mini-movie-review is too
off-list, but I don't think it is. I'll try to be brief. It's not
often you see DOCUMENTATION make a splash on the big screen.

PLEASE delete this message now if not interested in a movie review.

I saw Apollo 13 yesterday and, besides it being a helluva great movie
(IMHO), I was greatly heartened by the critical part DOCUMENTATION
played in the movie (and, by extension, in the problem-plagued
mission). In my opinion, DOCUMENTATION could have received co-star
billing or, at the very least, should have had a credit line at the
end of the movie (Documentation by: ). Yep, DOCUMENTATION.
Seriously.

I know I will be accused of being biased, but after seeing the movie,
I don't think it's much of a stretch, if one at all, to see how
important complete and clearly-written DOCUMENTATION was to the Apollo
13 mission. It's totally unexpected, I'm sure, but the Apollo 13
movie makes clear how important documentation was to mission control
and to the astronauts.

*ALL* procedures, actions, and responses integral to the mission were
obviously thoroughly documented before blastoff and the astronauts and
mission control READ and FOLLOWED the documentation over and over and
over and revised it when necessary. (It was really amazing to see
people on the big screen actually reading and following the
manuals. <g>)

Then, after blastoff, whatever problem surfaced (and there were many,
many life-threatening problems to be overcome during this ill-fated
mission), existing documentation was immediately examined for a
solution. When there was no ready solution, one was improvised and
documented BEFORE being passed on and implemented. Everything was
written down FIRST, then followed. Hoorah! Hoorah! Hoorah!

And talk about inhuman time constraints!!!

Anyway, those of you who see the movie will know what I'm talking
about here. You'll probably be as amazed as I was (*regardless* of
any accusation of our being biased) at how prominent a place
documentation has in the movie as a running subtext (yes, a pun).
When you see the movie you'll see that it's really there!

Write it down! Read it! Follow it! Really? How novel. It works!

Hooray for us..... Two thumbs up...

If you read this far, you may return to your normally scheduled
program.

madea // madea -at- mmsi -dot- com


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