Discussion:
Chris Kraft 1924-2019
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Louis Epstein
2019-07-23 00:47:27 UTC
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The legendary NASA flight director,born February 28th 1924,
died July 22nd 2019 (no idea if there was a matter of wanting
to stay alive for the Apollo 11 anniversary and then feeling done).
His full name was Christopher Columbus Kraft Jr. but space mission
coverage routinely called him Chris Kraft,inviting confusion with
the powerboat company Chris-Craft,founded by Christopher Columbus
Smith.

See
https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/07/christopher-columbus-kraft-nasas-legendary-flight-director-has-died/

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Michael OConnor
2019-07-23 02:33:23 UTC
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Chris Kraft was portrayed by Joe Spano in "Apollo 13" and John P. Ryan in "The Right Stuff", although in both movies his character was not named other than his being the head cheese at NASA.

I read Kraft's biography about 15 years ago, and according to his book, he pretty much laid out the design and layout of the Mission Control room, that they needed a room with the mission director and the 20 most important people, each of which covered the various sections of the mission (FIDO, EECOM, GUIDO, CAPCOM, etc.), and all the information fed into that room. Kraft also chose the Astronaut assignments, and IIRC picked Armstrong over Aldrin to be the first to step foot on the Moon.
danny burstein
2019-07-23 02:37:08 UTC
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Chris Kraft was portrayed by Joe Spano in "Apollo 13" and John P. Ryan in "=
The Right Stuff", although in both movies his character was not named other=
than his being the head cheese at NASA.
And by William Devane in Space Cowboys (2000)
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Michael OConnor
2019-07-23 03:17:18 UTC
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Post by danny burstein
Chris Kraft was portrayed by Joe Spano in "Apollo 13" and John P. Ryan in "=
The Right Stuff", although in both movies his character was not named other=
than his being the head cheese at NASA.
And by William Devane in Space Cowboys (2000)
The first two movies were true stories, which is why I referenced those actors were actually portraying Kraft, although he wasn't named.

However, I stand corrected on John P. Ryan playing Chris Kraft in "The Right Stuff"; I just found the video of the press conference introducing the Mercury Seven on 4/9/1959, and the guy introducing them was T. Keith Glennan, who was NASA's first Administrator:



Here was how it was covered in "The Right Stuff":



Kraft was the flight director for the Mercury program and became the director of Flight Operations the Apollo program. He retired from NASA just as the Shuttle program was starting.

I found a Time Magazine from 1965 that had him on the cover:

http://content.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,19650827,00.html

This would have been Kraft (behind the desk) in this scene from "Apollo 13"; only Kraft would have had the authority to pull the mission from Lovell and swap the crews out two days before the launch. He shows up about 40 seconds into the clip:


J.D. Baldwin
2019-07-23 12:21:42 UTC
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Post by Michael OConnor
Chris Kraft was portrayed by Joe Spano in "Apollo 13" and John
P. Ryan in "The Right Stuff", although in both movies his character
was not named other than his being the head cheese at NASA.
How could you leave out Stephen Root in the magnificent "From the
Earth to the Moon"?
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_+_ From the catapult of |If anyone objects to any statement I make, I am
_|70|___:)=}- J.D. Baldwin |quite prepared not only to retract it, but also
\ / ***@panix.com|to deny under oath that I ever made it.-T. Lehrer
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Michael OConnor
2019-07-23 14:45:28 UTC
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Post by J.D. Baldwin
How could you leave out Stephen Root in the magnificent "From the
Earth to the Moon"?
Believe it or not, as a NASA junkie, I've never seen the series. I remember it being an HBO miniseries in the late 90's, but I didn't have HBO at the time, and I just never got around to it. Ebay had the DVD set for ten bucks free shipping, and I bought it, so I'll be watching it over the next couple weeks.
J.D. Baldwin
2019-07-23 19:47:49 UTC
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Post by Michael OConnor
Post by J.D. Baldwin
How could you leave out Stephen Root in the magnificent "From the
Earth to the Moon"?
Believe it or not, as a NASA junkie, I've never seen the series. I
remember it being an HBO miniseries in the late 90's, but I didn't
have HBO at the time, and I just never got around to it. Ebay had
the DVD set for ten bucks free shipping, and I bought it, so I'll be
watching it over the next couple weeks.
You are in for a treat. The Eagle descent / landing sequence will
give you chills. It's a testament to how great the HBO production
ethos is: if this thing had been a Hollywood movie, some overpaid
asshat would have insisted on dumbing it all down because you just
can't have opaque jargon being spewed for five straight minutes. But
Bryan Cranston (Aldrin) and Tony Goldwyn (Armstrong) just basically
acted out the straight transcript -- and it was *riveting*. You don't
need to know the precise meaning of what they're saying; the point is
not to know the meaning. The point is to understand the simultaneous
fluidity and rigor with which they are communicating, with each other
and with the ground crew, and that message comes across brilliantly.

The only sour note was the Apollo 13 episode. Because the movie of
that event had just come out, the producers didn't want to rehash the
mishap and recovery itself. They chose instead to focus on a boring
interpersonal story arc among the journalists -- like anyone gives a
crap -- with the Apollo 13 crisis unfolding as a mere backdrop.
That's the downside of giving the creative team full creative control,
I suppose: when they go off the rails, there's no adult supervision
to bring them back.
--
_+_ From the catapult of |If anyone objects to any statement I make, I am
_|70|___:)=}- J.D. Baldwin |quite prepared not only to retract it, but also
\ / ***@panix.com|to deny under oath that I ever made it.-T. Lehrer
***~~~~----------------------------------------------------------------------
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