NASA Legend Chris Kraft Speaks Out

When Project Mercury, Gemini and Apollo flight director Chris Kraft speaks about manned spaceflight, people tend to listen. After all, this is one of the men who invented the science of planning and controlling a manned space mission when there was no prior experience and no handbook. Here’s an excerpt from a very striking interview conducted by Eric Berger.

Kraft: “For the last 10 years they’ve had trouble getting astronauts to go to the space station. I don’t know if you know that, but a lot of people don’t want to go to the space station. They don’t want to spend six months there. Three people have to take care of the station while three people do science. That’s three people 24 hours a day to keep the station operating. It’s not a very good job for an astronaut. Astronauts want to do something that has some excitement to it. The engineers that come to JSC want to do something. You go talk to the guys who were doing Constellation, and the reason they came to NASA was to go back to the moon. They’re all leaving now. The leaders are leaving for a lot of other reasons also, but they’re leaving because there’s no future that they want to be involved in. And that’s unfortunate. You’ve got to have a reason for people to give you their lives. Which is what I did. I gave NASA my life not because they asked me to, but because I wanted to. I had a reason. But I just don’t think that’s there now. The livelihood of the organization is not very good.”