What an amazing career.
As per the title. And what a glorious time it must have been to be in aeronautical engineering.
Chris Kraft, who created the concept of NASA's Mission Control, died yesterday aged 95. Born in Phoebus, Virginia, on 28 February 1924, Christopher Columbus Kraft joined the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) in 1945 following his graduation. Armed with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering, Kraft was a good fit …
It is difficult to think of any time where technology progressed in such tangibly large steps. From the seeming "barrier" of the speed of sound through to landing on another world, and from 400 staff to 400,000. For once using the word "awesome" doesn't feel like I'm indulging my Bill and Ted years.
Make sure you read "Flight" - his autobiography. Huge insight to what happened behind the scenes and Mr Kraft isn't afraid to say things as he thought them, both good and bad. One of the best space books. It must have been inspiring and frightening to have worked with him. The word "Legend" is greatly over-used: but not about him. Wherever he is going you know it will be run a bit better from now on.
I trust it was not the shock of Apollo's 50th anniversary arriving that killed him.
But seriously, what a great player, one of my all-time heroes - and I'm a Brit!
And all power to NASA's elbow back then, what a great way to run the ship. Each time the tech guy proved not enough they kept the faith and promoted him until he had the managerial clout to apply the lessons learned. Something the modern world of hi-ego political correctness needs to rediscover.
Messr Kraft and Kranz are the reason I do what I do today in amateur rocketry. I always thought mission control was the cool place to be.
I recall a quote (cant recall where) but when asked about the EVA what was the most important thing Armstrong and Aldrin do. His response was to "Get off there and come home"
A great loss, but spaceflight stands on his shoulders, for his leadership in mission planning, management and flight control.
Oh little trivia.. Kraft never saw a manned launch in person ever!
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