Chris Kraft, 1st flight director for NASA, dies at 95

Science
Chris Kraft

FILE – This Tuesday, July 5, 2011, file photo shows NASA Mission Control founder Chris Kraft in the old Mission Control at Johnson Space Center in Houston. Kraft, the founder of NASA’s mission control, died Monday, July 22, 2019, just two days after the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. He was 95. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Chris Kraft, the founder of NASA’s mission control, died Monday, just two days after the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. He was 95.

Kraft made key decisions on launches as the U.S. was learning how to put a man into space. Astronaut Neil Armstrong once called him “the man who was the ‘Control’ in Mission Control.”

The first manned flights started in 1961. Kraft had to decide life-and-death matters, such as whether conditions were safe for launch and what to do if a problem developed.

Later in the ’60s, he helped design the Apollo missions that took Americans to the moon in 1969. He retired from NASA in 1982 but continued to work as a consultant.

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