Fort Bend County man designed the flag pole planted on the Moon

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- At age 89, Ken Parr has a lifetime of memories. One of his best happened 50 years ago this week.

Although he didn't graduate from college, he was awarded a doctorate degree from the University of Houston, which he attended for two years in the 1950s.

It was given to honor his work in designing the tools of industry for major oil companies. He said he also contracted with NASA.

That allowed him to have a role from a distance the first time humans stepped on the surface of the Moon.

"It gives me chills to think about it," Parr said, from his Fort Bend County home. "Don't make me get emotional."

Parr was part of the team tasked with designing and then creating a flagpole that could be carried aboard the lunar lander.

"It had to weigh in the ounces, rather than pounds," he said. "I chose a lightweight aircraft aluminum, and the design was accepted."

The design also included a horizontal rod that prevented the American flag from drooping.

It was reported that the blast from the lunar module takeoff toppled the flag pole, but Parr believes the pole flexed, then returned to its original position.

The same design was also used for other U.S. flags planted on the moon.

"It was one of the greatest things in which I have ever been involved," Parr said. "That flag pole will be on the moon longer than anything on Earth."

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