Chris Kraft No Fan of SLS — "The Beast"

Chris Kraft No Fan of SLS — "The Beast"

Chris Kraft, the iconic former director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC), is no fan of the Space Launch System (SLS) being built by NASA at the direction of Congress.  In an interview with the Houston Chronicle’s Eric Berger, Kraft leaves no doubt about his objections to “the beast.”

In the interview, Kraft cites not just the high cost of developing SLS, but of operating it.  “So what you’ve got is a beast of a rocket, that would give you all this capability, which you can’t build because you don’t have the money to build it in the first place, and you can’t operate it if you had it.”

His solution to building large spacecraft for future exploration beyond low Earth orbit is to use multiple launches of existing rockets like Atlas and Delta and conduct on-obit assembly, as was done with the International Space Station.   He also is an advocate for astronauts returning to the Moon instead of visiting an asteroid as proposed by President Obama.

Kraft joined the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) in 1945.  NASA was created in 1958 with NACA as its core and Kraft moved to the new agency.   He was the flight director for the first U.S. human spaceflights (the Mercury program) from Cape Canaveral and established the Mission Control Center at JSC that has been used ever since for human spaceflight missions.    Kraft rose to become Director of Flight Operations for the Apoillo program, and was named director of JSC in 1972.  He retired from NASA in 1982, but has remained active in the space community since that time.

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