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bok_rev_brzezins - Flight: My Life in Mission Control by...

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Flight: My Life in Mission Control by Chris Kraft 16.895 Engineering Apollo Book Review by Amy Brzezinski Flight: My Life in Mission Control , by Chris Kraft, is a memoir written by the man generally considered as “the father of mission control.” Kraft’s book details the history of NASA from its NACA roots and the establishment of the Space Task Group (STG) up through to the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions. This history is presented through Kraft’s viewpoint, a man intimately involved in NASA from its beginning, through personal stories about the people and events related to his time at NASA. The book begins with Kraft writing about his childhood in Phoebus, Virginia, his education at Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and the beginning of his career at NACA’s Langley Field in the Flight Research Division. Kraft details his recruitment into Bob Gilruth’s STG, which eventually became NASA’s Manned Spaceflight Center (MSC) in Houston, Texas. The majority of the book focuses on Kraft’s role in the creation of mission control and as NASA’s first flight director for mission operators. In particular, the book focuses on the Mercury and Gemini missions when Kraft was in charge of missions of as “Flight.” It appears that Kraft has two objectives in writing Flight : First, to pass on lessons he learned from his work in early manned spaceflight, and second, to offer his personal viewpoint on events and people involved with NASA. Kraft is quite elderly, and probably wishes to pass on the lessons from NASA’s “golden age” to future generations. At the end of Flight , which was published in 2001, Kraft comments upon the current state of space exploration: “There’s still so much to be done out there. We don’t use near-Earth space…to proper advantage… government policies inhibit and even prevent private adventures [in space]” (pg 354). It’s clear that Kraft is not happy with the current state of space exploration. Perhaps by writing Flight , Kraft wants to leave suggestions and “lesson learned” for future people involved with manned spaceflight. Kraft may have written Flight
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bok_rev_brzezins - Flight: My Life in Mission Control by...

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