Mission Control named for 1st NASA flight director

April 14, 2011 10:10:45 AM PDT
NASA has honored its first flight director by naming Mission Control at the Johnson Space Center in Houston after him. Space program officials spoke Thursday at a ceremony at the newly-named Christopher C. Kraft Jr. Mission Control Center.

The 87-year-old Kraft attended the event. He was NASA's first director for human spaceflight and helped create Mission Control.

He also directed the Mercury and Gemini flights and helped put men on the moon during the Apollo program. He went on to serve as director of Johnson Space Center from 1972 to 1982.

"How can anybody not like a day like today when they named a mission control center after you," said Dr. Kraft. "It's a great building, full of great people and symbolic of a great organization here at the Johnson Space Center."

Dr. Kraft called the decision not to bring a retired space shuttle to the area as 'insignificant.' Although, he did say it seems to be in his opinion, a slap in the face. He says we need to look forward to what we can continue to do -- NASA's continued exploration of space.

It's a sentiment also echoed here today by legendary director Gene Kranz who said, 'We need to find the courage to continue the work that Dr. Kraft and so many began here at mission control over 50 years ago.'

Kraft detailed his time at NASA in his 2001 book, "Flight: My Life in Mission Control."

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