Full name: Christopher Columbus Kraft, Jr.
Born on February 28, 1924 in Phoebus, Virginia
Graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1944 with a BS in aeronautical engineering. Joined the NACA and worked on projects such as the Bell X-1. Was a member of the Space Task Group under Bob Gilruth (formed in response to the launch of Sputnik by the Soviet Union). The NACA became the NASA in 1958 and Kraft became NASA's first flight director. Kraft established NASA's mission control and the worldwide network needed to remain in contact with orbiting spacecraft. He directly oversaw all of the Mercury project missions as well as several of the Gemini project missions before being promoted to Director of Flight Operations for the Apollo project missions to the moon and contributed greatly to the success of these programs.
From 1972 to 1982, Kraft served as the Director of NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX.
After leaving NASA, he has worked as an aerospace consultant, and served on the boards of directors of several companies.
In 2001, he published an candid autobiography titled "Flight: My Life in Mission Control"