Mission Control at Johnson Space Center Named for Chris Kraft
NASA is honoring Dr. Christopher Columbus Kraft, Jr., the first space mission flight director, by naming the Houston Mission Control Center in his honor for his service to the nation and its space programs.
No single individual has meant more to the success of the American space program than Chris Kraft. As the first flight director, Kraft managed all of the Mercury and several Gemini missions in the 1960s. He helped design the Mission Control Center, the heart of all NASA space missions.
He guided America's first human spaceflight, first human orbital flight, and first spacewalk, and he trained the flight directors who guided the Apollo moon missions, Skylab and the Space Shuttle program.
Kraft served as director of the Johnson Space Center from 1972 to 1982. Since his retirement from federal service in 1982, he has served as an aerospace consultant for numerous companies.
Since leaving NASA, Chris Kraft has also been an outspoken critic of the way the Space Shuttle program has been managed. He has said publicly that it is absurd for the American space program to be so dependent on vehicles that were built in the 1980s with technology from the 1960s and 1970s.