Actually, these guys would fill two space helmets and then some. You may have been a small child when the Apollo 13 spacecraft launched, you may have been non-existent, or you may have just recently learned of the space mission on a TBS re-run of the film starring Tom Hanks. No matter your age, you’ve probably heard about the doomed Apollo mission and the team that came together to save the crew. If you want to hear it from the people themselves, you’ll be interested to know that SolidWorks has announced the headliner for SolidWorks World 2011.

Commander Capt. James Lovell Jr.


Gene Kranz, lead flight director

Their actions earned Lovell and Kranz Presidential Medals of Freedom. The pair will tell their stories at [the 13th annual] SolidWorks World, which takes place Jan. 23-26, 2011, at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas.

Lovell is the one who captured the event in the simple words, “Houston, we have a problem.”

As designers and engineers, it’s easy to relate to those words. We often hear them on a daily basis. I hear them in my dreams, repeating… over… and over… and over again. You may have heard Captain James and Gene Kranz speak on their experience before. One thing is certain, when something of that magnitude happens, a switch is flipped in your head and you’re completely honed in on solving that problem.

You can see Capt. James Lovell speaking at a recent federal healthcare center dedication for the Captain James A. Lovell Hospital and learn more about Gen Kranz on his Wikipedia page.

If you’re not signed up to go yet, you can find out details on the SolidWorks World 2011 website and even find some boss justification letter to prove you’ll be doing more that collecting booth trinkets. You can also win a trip to SolidWorks World through 3DConnexion. See you there.

Apollo 13 insignia via Wikipedia


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.