July 29, 2019 4:32:57 pm
NASA’s first flight director Chris Kraft, who created the Mission Control system that helped to send humans into space, died on Monday, the space agency has said.
NASA made the announcement of the 95-year-old’s death just days after space fans on Saturday celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission that put humans on the Moon.
“Chris was one of the core team members that helped our nation put humans in space and on the Moon, and his legacy is immeasurable,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement.
Born Christopher Columbus Kraft on February 28, 1924, the US engineer joined the NASA Space Task Group in 1958 as the first flight director.
In that role, he invented the mission planning and control processes required for crewed space missions, including space-to-ground communications, space tracking and crew recovery.
During the Apollo program, he was responsible for human spaceflight mission planning, training and execution at the Manned Spacecraft Center. He retired in 1982.
Events marking the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing on Saturday came as NASA is preparing for new missions to the lunar surface and eventually Mars.
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