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: http://www.space.com/34135-jack-garman-apollo-11-obituary.html
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.