HOUSTON, April 11, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- News media are invited to attend a naming ceremony for the Mission Control Center at 10 a.m. CDT Thursday, April 14, at NASA's Johnson Space Center, which will include an unveiling of the building's new nameplate.
NASA is recognizing Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., America's first human space mission flight director, by naming the mission control center in his honor for his service to the nation and its space programs.
Kraft and several of the speakers will be available for interviews immediately after the ceremony. To participate, news media must contact the JSC Newsroom by 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 12.
As flight director, Kraft managed all of the Mercury and several Gemini missions, and was in that role for America's first human spaceflight, first human orbital flight, and first spacewalk. He also was one of the designers and implementers of the Mission Control Center, the heart of all NASA crewed space missions.
Kraft joined NASA's predecessor agency, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, in 1945. In 1958, he joined the newly created NASA as one of the original members of the Space Task Group organized to design and manage Project Mercury. He moved from Langley Research Center in Virginia with that group to Houston in 1962, and was assigned to develop the facilities, systems and techniques necessary to support human spaceflights.
Kraft served as director of the Johnson center from January 1972 to August 1982. After his retirement from federal service in 1982, he served as an aerospace consultant for numerous companies.
Speaking at the event will be Mike Coats, JSC center director; John McCullough, current chief of NASA flight director's office; Gene Kranz, Kraft's successor as flight director and former director of Mission Operations; and Glynn Lunney, a former flight director who worked with Kraft, and also a former Space Shuttle Program manager and vice president of United Space Alliance.