Failure is Not an Option! SRE Lessons 50 Years after the Apollo 13 Flight to the Moon

Tuesday, December 08, 2020 - 2:55 pm3:35 pm

Robert Barron, IBM


2020 marked the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 13 mission - what was supposed to be a "routine" third landing on the Moon turned into a dramatic odyssey as an explosion nearly destroyed the spacecraft when it was on the way to the Moon.

It was the incredible efforts of the astronauts in space and the engineers on the ground that ensured the safe return of the astronauts.

What were these efforts? While the terms "Site Reliability Engineering", "Observability", "Chaos Engineering", and others did not exist in 1970, NASA's training and preparation of the astronauts and engineers cover many of the principles and practices of modern Site Reliability Engineering.

How did NASA prepare for the mission? How did they work to solve the problems which occurred during the missions? And how did they learn and improve their systems for future missions.

Find out by attending this session.

Robert Barron, IBM

Robert is the AIOps lead in IBM's Garage for Technical Solution Acceleration. He is an SRE and ChatOps evangelist who enjoys helping others solve problems even more than he enjoys solving them himself. Robert has over 20 years of experience in IT development & operations and is happiest when learning something new. Robert lives in Israel with his wonderful wife and two children. His hobbies include history, space exploration, and bird photography.

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@inproceedings {262186,
author = {Robert Barron},
title = {Failure is Not an Option! {SRE} Lessons 50 Years after the Apollo 13 Flight to the Moon},
booktitle = {SREcon20 Americas (SREcon20 Americas)},
year = {2020},
url = {},
publisher = {{USENIX} Association},
month = dec,

Presentation Video