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Christopher C. Kraft, Jr.
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    (February 28, 1924-July 22, 2019)
    Born in Phoebus, Virginia
    First NASA flight director (1958-69)
    Deputy Director (1969-72) and Director (1972-82) of the Johnson Space Center
    Wrote 'Flight: My Life in Mission Control' (2001)
    Died two days after the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing
    He made a big deal about his middle name being Columbus. ('Some of my life's direction was settled from the start.')
    When John F. Kennedy promised a mission to the moon 'before the decade is out,' his initial thought was that the President 'had lost his mind.'
    If he felt that an astronaut had not followed his instructions to the letter, he would make sure they never flew again. (The most notable example was <17981.)
    He was married to Betty Ann Turnball for 68 years.
    He came up with the basic idea for mission control: 'I saw a team of highly skilled engineers, each one an expert on a different piece of the Mercury capsule. We'd have a flow of accurate telemetry data so the experts could monitor their systems, see and even predict problems, and pass along instructions to the astronaut.'
    He personally hand picked and trained a generation of NASA's flight engineers.
    During Apollo 13, he chaired the meeting of senior engineers who figured out how to get the astronauts back to earth.
    The Mission Control Center at the Johnson Space Center was named in his honor (2011).
    He joked that his job was better than the astronauts': 'I get to go on every flight, and besides that, I get to tell them what to do.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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