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Flight: My Life in Mission Control Hardcover – 1 Mar 2001

4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 371 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Books (Mar. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525945717
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525945710
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.2 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 488,324 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Flight: My Life in Mission Control is the feisty memoir of Chris Kraft, head of mission control ground crew on the famous Eagle mission of 1969. On July 20, 1969, near the end of a great decade of near-space exploration, a small craft called Eagle landed on the moon's surface. As anyone who watched the televised broadcast of the landing might recall, the astronauts aboard Eagle were guided to their objective by a capable ground crew headed by Chris Kraft, whom his colleagues had long called "Flight". Kraft was unflappable on the surface, but, as he writes in this memoir, the Eagle's landing had moments of drama that gave him pause, and that few outside NASA knew about--including baleful alarms from the ship's on-board computer that warned of imminent disaster.

For Kraft, frightening moments were part of his job as director of Mission Control. He encountered many of them in the early years of the space programme, when failures were commonplace and all too often caused not by mechanics but politics. We learn of many in Kraft's pages. One such failure was the Soviet Union's Sputnik launch, on which Kraft thunders, "We should have beaten them.... We were stopped by anonymous doctors in the civilian world who didn't know what they were talking about, by a bureaucrat in the White House who'd been stung when JFK shot down his position on manned space flight, and by our friend the German rocket scientist who got cold feet when he should have been bold."

Plenty of other contemporaries, including John Glenn and Richard Nixon, come in for a scolding in Kraft's fiery account, which offers a fly-on-the-wall portrait of the challenging work of astronautics--work that, Kraft writes hopefully, is only beginning. --Gregory McNamee


Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having read most of the books by the astronauts, controllers, and others involved, this for me was by far the best (although I must admit to being a fan of the genre in general).
Surprisingly for me (given that I'm a geek!), it was the human side of most of the stories that were the most interesting. If you have any interest at all in the space race, buy this book.
My only criticism is a minor one: In the last couple of pages, where Kraft discusses how we should still be exploring and moving out (with which I totally agree), he makes constant reference to "America should do this", "American people must do that", etc. Sure - it was America who won the space race, and I do not wish to take that away from them, but the cold war is over now - mankind must move forwards as a whole from now, not just America. But I would say that, being a Brit!
Great book: buy it.
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Format: Hardcover
What a way to spend your life, not only was Chris Kraft one of the main people behind NASA getting to the moon, but he was also an incredible engineer involved with the X-1 he also designed a system to help control planes that had the British and American Aircraft companies confused (you get the idea this guy was a little bit smart).
But this book is really about NASA, his guiding of the mission control center and all those who worked for him, Gene Kranz included.
If you have an interest in the Mercury, Gemini or Apollo days of NASA, read this book, because a lot of it would never of happened with out Chris Kraft
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Format: Hardcover
Chris Kraft captures the excitement of the early years in space; he brings to life the Houston and Kennedy space centers and all those who worked there. His is the enthusiasm of the young engineer/ manager on the cutting edge of technology, more interested in the quest than personal advancement.
He pulls no punches - his negative evaluation of early space luminaries such as Werner Von Braun may surprise some space enthusiasts. He also describes the early political posturing in the building of NACA and NASA.
I was privileged to grow up near the space center and experience Gemini and Apollo second-hand; many of my peer's parents worked for NASA. Thank you, Dr. Kraft, for bringing the most exciting time in space travel back to life, and helping me view it through the eyes of those who made it happen!!
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Format: Paperback
The man at the centre of the organisation behind the moon landings gives us some indication of the engineering complexities, planning details and bureaucracy behind the effort, but also adds some entertaining and frank insights into the people involved.
The book is at its best when describing the background to the earlier Mercury and Gemini missions. The details of the moon landings, when he was no longer directly in charge as flight director, are skipped over a little, and you will find a lot more detail elsewhere.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read a lot about the space program and this book is one of the better. Kraft was undoubtedly one of the key figures in bringing USA to the moon and this book describes his story very well.

Why then only 4 stars? Well i find that Kraft perhaps tend to overlook other people and having read Krantz's book i find it a bit sad. Krantz speaks very high about Chris Kraft, sometimes emotional but Kraft returns the favour by allmost not mentioning Krantz. Chris Kraft WAS the reverend leader who laid the foundation but Gene Krantz was the #2 man who build the house(mission control)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Unusual perspectives from someone who was in there from the very early (pre-NASA) days. He certainly had a real dislike for the Germans who came over after the war, especially Von Braun, but they gained his rightful respect after delivering the amazing Saturn 5 launcher.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a fantastic insight into the origins and challenges of setting up a system of organization that had previously never been required . Explained in a way that anyone can understand , It is a fantastic read . I couldn't put this book down . If you love all things Space and Space travel you will love this book . Revered by his colleagues in mission control , This book provides an insight into the type of person that was required to achieve the seemingly impossible . AMAZING !!!
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