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Hall of Fame

Christopher C. Kraft, Jr.

NASA Mission Control Creator

I gave NASA my life not because they asked me to, but because I wanted to. I had a reason.

An aerospace engineer who graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Christopher Kraft was hired by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) in 1944.  After 14 years of aerospace research, Kraft was asked to join NASA’s Space Task Group which managed the programs to put a man in space and later, on the Moon.  As part of the Flight Operations Division, he became NASA’s first flight director, overseeing the Mercury and Gemini series of space missions.  Kraft was responsible for shaping the culture and organization of NASA’s Mission Control which remain in place to this day.  During the Apollo program, he worked in mission management and planning before becoming the Director of the Manned Spaceflight Center (now Johnson Space Center) in 1972.  He retired from NASA in 1982, but continued working as a consultant for major aerospace companies.  In 2011, the Mission Control Building at JSC was named in his honor.

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