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Chris Kraft, NASA's first flight director, dies at 95



"America has truly lost a national treasure today with the passage of one of NASA's earliest pioneers – flight director Chris Kraft," said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine in a statement. "We sent our deepest condolences to the Kraft family." Chris was one of the core team members that helped our nation put people in space and on the Moon, and his legacy is immeasurable. "

Kraft died in Houston but no other information

Kraft joined the NASA Space Task Group in November 1958 with NASA's first flight director and worked on some of the most iconic moments in space history, including humans orbiting Earth for the first time. He was a pioneer in his field and created the concept of NASA's Mission Control.
"Once comparing his complex work as a flight director to a conductor's, Kraft said," The conductor can not play all the instruments ̵
1; he may not even be able to play any of them. the first violin should be playing, and he knows when the trumpets should be loud or soft, and when the drummer should be drumming.It mixes all that up and comes out of music.That's what we do here, "said Bridenstine [19659004]

During the Apollo program, he was the director of mission operations and directed astronaut Ed White to get back in the Gemini 4 capsule during the first spacewalk by an American. During his time at NASA, he held several leadership positions and retired as center director in 1982.
 Gene Kranz (left) and Chris Kraft at their consoles

On-Line: 19459002

Christopher C. Kraft Jr. was born on February 28, 1924, in Phoebus, Virginia, now part of Hampton. In high school, he played baseball, drums and was involved in the bugle corps. In 1941, Kraft attended the Virginia Polytechnic Institute (now known as Virginia Tech) and studied mechanical engineering.

As a student, he enrolled in the Navy in 1942 but was declared unfit for service because of his right hand being severally burned as a child. The injury did not hamper his passion for sports and he joined VPI baseball team, where he played catcher.

After being inspired by an elective course, Kraft graduated in 1944. He married his high school sweetheart, Betty Anne Turnbull, in 1950. They have a son and daughter, Gordon and Kristi-Anne. 19659011] Since retirement he has been consulted for many companies including IBM and published his autobiography, the New York Times bestseller, "Flight: My Life in Mission Control." He has received many awards and honors for his work, including the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal and four NASA Distinguished Service Medals.

In 2011, NASA named its Building 30 Mission Control Center at Johnson Space Center in his honor, "Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., Mission Control Center. "

" We stand on his shoulders as we reach deep into the solar system, and he will always be with us on those journeys, "

CNN's Ashley Strickland and Dave Alsup contributed to this report


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