During the press conference after the SolidWorks World 2011 General Session, someone asked whichcharacterists are desirable to have in an engineer. This was a thought provoking question that Gene Kranz took in stride. He stated that good engineers have to have intense listening. They also have know the people they work with. I suspect these answers come from a deep history of problem solving when lives are on the line. Jim Lovell answered by saying engineers need coureosity and the ability to look ahead to see an impending crises.
Lovell also speculated,
Our technological advances are far exceeding our social advances.
When asked about commerical space programs, Lovell made a distinction between actual commerical space programs and government funded programs. He then speculated,
I believe it’s going to be another decade for truly successful commerical space [programs].
Kranz forsees another type of difficulty for commercial space programs.
If [a commerical company] fails, who’s going to be responsible?
Space travel has to take into account the effects on populations throughout the planet. Commercial space companies will have to be well insured in the event one of their vessals slams in to a city, according to Kranz.
Finally, when asked about the use of computer simulation verse physical simulations used in the rescue of Apollo 13, Kranz commented on use of the physical simulations lead to virtually every success they had. Lovell added that the simulations were quite realistic.
Meeting Lovell and Kranz is definitely going to be the highlight of this trip for me. In return, both Lovell and Kranz stated their appreciation of their reception from the conference attendees. In particular, they were impressed by the number of press at the press conference.