Chris Kraft, NASA's first flight director, died Monday, two days after the agency celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. He was aged 95.
"We send our deepest condolences to the Kraft family. Chris was one of the core team members that helped our nation put humans in space and on the Moon, and his legacy is immeasurable," NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement. Kraft joined the NASA Space Task Group in November 1958 as NASA's first flight director. He created the concept of NASA's Mission Control. Kraft once said he set up mission control to monitor spacecraft systems, interact with astronauts in space and to stand ready, spring-loaded to “figure out all the things that could go wrong and be prepared to to deal with them.”
Kraft in the control center during his activity
During the Apollo program, he was director of mission operations, and directed astronaut Ed White to get back in the Gemini 4 capsule during the first spacewalk by an American. He retired as center director in 1982. Since retirement he consulted for many companies including IBM and published his autobiography, a New York Times bestseller, "Flight: My Life in Mission Control." In 2011, NASA named its Building 30 Mission Control Center at the Johnson Space Center in his honor, "Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., Mission Control Center."