You Have a GO for Business Success by Tom Taormina


One of the common terms used by NASA over the last five decades has been “you have a GO for…” You have a GO for launch. You have a Go for staging. You have a GO for landing. It has become part of our lexicon and is dramatized in movies such as Apollo 13.

Behind the scenes, there was an extremely complex business model at work that resulted in issuing a GO command. I worked at Mission Control, Houston, during Gemini, Apollo and Skylab and was witness to the processes that had to be successfully completed before the words “You have a GO for…” were spoken by the Launch Director at Cape Canaveral (CAPE) or the Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM Houston).

Behind the single voice you heard from CAPCOM was a cacophony of voices from the Flight Controllers manning the Control Room consoles. A scenario that we heard internally would be something like Flight Director Gene Kranz “going around the room” for confirmation from each system controller that all parameters were within mission guidelines. We would hear a series of affirmations that all systems were “nominal” for the next phase of a mission plan.

For instance, the call would come from the Flight Director in preparation for lunar landing. “Do we have a go for landing? GNC?” “Go Flight.” “EECOM?” “Go Flight”…and the questions and answers were completed before the order was transmitted to CAPCOM – “We have a go for landing.” Without unanimous GO orders, the event was scrubbed and diagnostics initiated. The event clock was reset.

Behind each Flight Controller giving a GO command was a cadre of specialists at more consoles inside staff support rooms on the second and third floor of Mission Control, Houston. Each of these individuals was monitoring the critical parameters of the subordinate subsystems and sub-subsystems. 100% compliance with predetermined metrics was required to escalate a GO command through the chain to the Flight Director.

Are you the Flight Director for your organization? Do you “go around the room” for affirmation that all critical parameters are “nominal” before you issue a GO command for any critical business decision? Are your flight directors and support staff in harmony before you get a report that all variables have been assessed and are functioning to plan before you give any GO command?


In my 12th book, It WAS Rocket Science, the history of how we won the space race is documented so that you and the future pioneers will have the blueprint that we used to send men to the moon and return them home safely, six times. The Apollo Business Model™ details how to create an organizational structure that ensures all staff members are accountable for their individual tasks and that the entire chain of command is in sync to give a GO order that will ensure mission success.


Whether you ae running a restaurant, manufacturing consumer products or building rockets, the Apollo Business Model will ensure your liability is minimized and your potential success is maximized before you give any critical GO command. It will also give you the steps of corrective action you need to implement when you get a “NO-GO” response, internally or from a customer.


11/14/14 © Tom Taormina