Christopher Columbus Kraft (1924-20019)

You know him, or should,

even if you’re far too young

to remember the way news

broadcasters intoned and enshrined his name

emphasizing as if a talisman, a link

to the past of sailing ships,

his middle name:

Christopher Columbus Kraft, Jr.


He invented Mission Control,

ground-based spaceflight control

and the role of Flight Director

as the person orchestrating each flight.


When Ed White in his exuberance

at America’s first spacewalk

seemed reluctant to reenter the Gemini capsule,

Capcom Gus Grissom called,

“The Flight Director says get back in.”

That Flight Director, as for all

the Mercury and Gemini flights,

was Christopher Kraft.

And Ed White got back in.


Coincidence?  Or something greater?

Chris Kraft, 95, died two days after

the 50th anniversary of the moon landing

he guided us to. And beyond.

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