Chris Kraft, NASA’s first Flight Director, died yesterday, two days after the 50th anniversary of the first man on the moon.
Once comparing his complex work as a flight director to a conductor’s, Kraft said, ‘The conductor can’t play all the instruments–he may not even be able to play any one of them. But, he knows when the first violin should be playing, and he knows when the trumpets should be loud or soft, and when the drummer should be drumming. He mixes all this up and out comes music. That’s what we do here.’
It’s almost as if he waited for the anniversary. The world remembers the names of the men who set foot on the moon, but Chris Kraft was another hugely important person managing the hundreds of highly skilled engineers and scientists without whom the moon landing would not have been possible.
We’re fast approaching a time where there will be nobody left who was involved in project Apollo. It will never be forgotten, but it will be sad to no longer be remembered first hand.