bok_rev_graham - ESD.30J Engineering Apollo Hudson Graham...

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ESD.30J Engineering Apollo Hudson Graham 02 April 2007 Book Review on Chris Kraft’s Flight Chris Kraft’s Flight is his story of being “part of the crowd, then part of the leadership that opened space travel to human beings” (Kraft 355). The author worked in key operational positions at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to integrate technology and policy in the 1960’s to put a man on the moon. The following paper provides a brief summary, a critical review of Flight , analyzes Kraft as a source, evaluates the relevance of his topic to the overall Apollo story, and examines an engineering decision that was driven by the politics of the era. Brief summary Kraft recounts his journey from his boyhood in Phoebus, Virginia, to becoming an engineer at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, then one of the original thirty-six members of the Space Task Group. He shares how he became “Flight” for NASA. “Flight” has complete authority “while the mission is under way…Flight is God” (Kraft 2). He served in this capacity for all the Mercury flights and through Gemini 6 and 7. Following these Gemini flights, he moved to a higher management position to help the Apollo program along, while continuing to play an active role as the man who developed the Mission Control room and groomed and mentored his “men called Flight” (Kraft 316)—Gene Kranz, Cliff Charlesworth, Glynn Lunney, and Gerry Griffin. This is Kraft’s story of how he “was lucky to be part of” a team “from NASA, industry, science, and academe who brilliantly sent Americans” (Kraft 355) to the moon. Critical examination The space story in Flight leaves the reader feeling nostalgic over the events that Kraft describes, including times of high drama and inspiration, such as when Ed White took a space walk from Gemini IV or when Neil Armstrong stepped out on the moon. Kraft remembers that “euphoria held us and the moment never seemed to end” (Kraft 324). His involvement with the Apollo project dominated his life. Having invested so much in the space program, Kraft understandably has an interest in conveying the Apollo project in a positive light that will leave 1
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the reader in awe over what he and the other men accomplished. He credits Time magazine writer James Schefter for helping him “[create] a compelling memoir” (Kraft X). The author has had thirty years to create a story based on how he wants to shape his
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This note was uploaded on 11/08/2011 for the course AERO 16.872 taught by Professor Danielhastings during the Fall '03 term at MIT.

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bok_rev_graham - ESD.30J Engineering Apollo Hudson Graham...

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