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Chris Kraft’s family visits Kraft Elementary School

The family of Christopher (Chris) Kraft, Jr., visited Kraft Elementary School on February 27, 2024. A local icon and space pioneer, the school was named after him when it opened in 1966. Kraft’s daughter Kristi-Anne DuPont and her husband Glenn visited the school named after Kraft and viewed items that the family donated to the school.

In honor of what would have been his 100th birthday, the Hampton History Museum is opening an exhibit celebrating Kraft’s life and accomplishments as a preeminent NASA scientist. Kraft passed away in 2019.

He was born in Phoebus, Virginia (now part of Hampton) and attended Hampton High School and Virginia Polytechnical Institute before joining the staff of Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory in his hometown in 1945. In 1958, Kraft was assigned to the NACA Space Task Group and tasked with developing a system of manned space flight – putting a man in space and bringing him safely home. Kraft was a central figure in projects Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo.  He led the development of the ground operations control system for the new agency, NASA which became famous as “Mission Control”. Kraft became the flight director, responsible for all of the flight components of the missions whether near Earth or in space. Ultimately, he became director of Johnson Space Center until his 1982 retirement.


Kraft’s family honored the Hampton History Museum by donating a collection of personal memorabilia that Kraft saved through his life as Phoebus and Hampton native son, and his career at NASA Langley Research Center and beyond. The Hampton History Museum exhibit tells of his legacy as a Hamptonian, highly regarded engineer at NASA Langley Research Center, and his central role in the manned space flight program. It features this previously unseen collection as well as other artifacts from his family. To add to the unique nature of this exhibit, it features a significant collection of previously unseen images taken by Kraft’s contemporary, NASA documentary photographer Bill Taub.


The Hampton History Museum exhibit opens to the public on February 29, 2024.