Flight Directors Lunney, Kraft, Hodge, and Kranz in Mission Control

Christopher C. Kraft, Jr.

Flight Director

Christopher Kraft graduated from Virginia Polytechnic in 1944 with a degree in aeronautical engineering. He found his way to NACA and worked for over a decade in aeronautical research before being asked in 1958 to join the Space Task Group—a small team entrusted with the responsibility of putting America's first man in space.

Assigned to the flight operations division, Kraft became NASA's first flight director. He was on duty during such historic missions as America's first manned spaceflight, first manned orbital flight, and first spacewalk. After retiring from his position as NASA’s first flight director, he focused on the Apollo program. Kraft helped plan the flights as director of Flight Operations. He was in Mission Control during many of the Apollo missions and helped make the decision that brought Apollo 13 back to earth.

Kraft became director of the Manned Spacecraft Center in 1972, retired in 1982, and received numerous awards for his contributions. He continued to be involved in space exploration and has written an autobiography that details his life through the end of the Apollo program.