Passing of the MICHIGAN MAN who saved the first moon landing

Submitted by superstringer on September 21st, 2016 at 8:50 PM

As the proud holder of a Bachelors of Science in Aerospace Engineering from MICHIGAN, I regret to pass along all of you a bit of sad news today -- the passing of Jack Garman.  He was a MICHIGAN engineer who worked for NASA in the 1960s and 1970s.

And he single-handedly saved the Apollo 11 moon landing from an abort, just minutes before the landing.

Here is the story and his obit:

The short version:  Minutes before moon landing, the lander's computer started spitting out error codes that the astronauts had never seen -- "1201, 1202."  They'd never trained on them.  They were freaking out (as much as astronauts do.)  Dean Kranz, the head back at Mission Control, needed answers -- fast.

Jack Garman knew the answer.  In training, some weird codes had ended one training session, so he was tasked to write down every error code that could arise.  1201 and 1202 were on his list.  He told everyone, not to worry, it's ok.  So Mission Control relayed that to the astronauts - it's ok, ignore the alarms.  The vehicle landed safely, and all was well.  (The alarms meant the computer was being overtasked and was taking longer to respond than normal.)

If Jack hadn't been there to save the day, the astronauts were about to abort the mission.  Space history would have been very different.

The MICHIGAN difference!  Rest in peace, Mr. Garman.



September 21st, 2016 at 9:14 PM ^

Hey, if people can genuinely believe the moon landing was faked, what is from stopping us from thinking something else wasn't faked?

My list - 

1. The Horror

2. Mike Lantry's missed FG(s)

3. The timeout vs NC

4. The RR/Hoke era (less Denard)

5. The Charles White TD - wait, we know that was fake!


RIP Garman


September 21st, 2016 at 9:08 PM ^

.....and these are the best kind of Michigan stories, in my opinion. The ones where someone relatively unsung and unknown did something incredibly significant and lasting. 

RIP Jack Garman. 

Bando Calrissian

September 21st, 2016 at 10:14 PM ^

Interesting fact: the woman who wrote much the code for the Apollo project, Margaret Hamilton, started her BA at Michigan. 

And that's how much code she helped to write, printed out in physical form.


September 22nd, 2016 at 8:32 AM ^

On a side note, I couldn't help but notice that the error messages from the Apollo computer were 1201 and 1202 and the astronauts had never seen them before. Could it be because all that computers spit out back then were zeros and ones? :)