USNASA's Chris Kraft, who helped build Apollo, dies 50 years after moon landing
Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin recalls first moments on the moon on 50th anniversary of mission
"To me, it was the dream we had all signed up to chase, what we had imagined, worked and trained for, the apex of national service to a country we unabashedly loved," Buzz Aldrin said.
Christopher Kraft, a key architect behind several early NASA programs and the agency's first flight director, has died at 95, according to a statement released Monday.
Kraftin the precursors to the Apollo moon missions, known as Mercury and Gemini. He developed the concept of mission control and became director of flight operations during Apollo at NASA's Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, now known as the Johnson Space Center. He would also advance to serve as the center's director until his retirement in 1982.
"We're saddened by the passing of Chris Kraft, our first flight director," NASA said in a Monday statement. "He was a space legend who created the concept of mission control during the early human spaceflight program and made it an integral part of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions."
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Kraft's passing comes as the agency, institutions and people across the country celebrate the, which occurred at 4:17 p.m. July 20.
“America has truly lost a national treasure today with the passing of one of NASA’s earliest pioneers," NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement. "We stand on his shoulders as we reach deeper into the solar system, and he will always be with us on those journeys.”
In an interview in February with the Houston Chronicle, Kraft, who was born in Virginia and attended Virginia Tech, said he never wanted to be an astronaut.
“I liked my job better than theirs,” he said. “I got to go on every flight, and besides that, I got to tell them what to do.”
Contact Emre Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 321-242-3715. Follow him on, and at @EmreKelly.
This article originally appeared on Florida Today:
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