Kraft made key decisions on launches as the U.S. was learning how to put a man into space. Astronaut Neil Armstrong once called him "the man who was the 'Control' in Mission Control."
The first manned flights started in 1961. Kraft had to decide life-and-death matters, such as whether conditions were safe for launch and what to do if a problem developed.
Later in the '60s, he helped design the Apollo missions that took Americans to the moon in 1969. He retired from NASA in 1982 but continued to work as a consultant.
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