The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 71, July 1967 - April, 1968 Page: 392
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
ample of one native Virginian who achieved eminence as flight
director of all the Mercury and Gemini manned missions. He is
Christopher Columbus Kraft, Jr., a senior flight operations and control
engineer whose very name appropriately symbolizes his role as a
real decision-maker in the conquest of near-space so far."
Less well known but an equally significant Virginian who repre-
sents the kind of man responsible for the successful design of most
of the spacecraft hardware to date is Caldwell C. Johnson. Only one
of a team of thirty-five Langley and Lewis engineers in 1958, Johnson
did much of the preliminary design work on the Mercury capsule con-
figuration before he transferred to the Space Task Group in 1959.
A native of Hampton who apprenticed himself as a machinist in
Langley shops in 1940, Johnson grew up through the in-service
training program at Langley, tried but aborted the academic route
to an engineering credential (B.S.), and subsequently educated him-
self so well as to prove invaluable in translating conceptual schemes
into hardware developments for Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo space-
craft."8 Caldwell Johnson exhibits on the individual level what is
meant by the social generalization that southerners have had a quite
real reciprocal effect on the national space program.
Echoing John C. Calhoun, they have enthusiastically joined in
his affirmation, "Let us conquer space."
s"On C. C. Kraft, Jr., see "Vigil of the Genius Behind Gemini 4," Life, LVIII (June
18, 1965), 72b-82. Kraft also appeared on nationwide network television in an informal
taped interview during the week long flight of GT-4. See also, Fred Blumenthal, "Space
Program's Chris Kraft: He Stands Out in a Field of Stars," Parade (October 17, 1965),
9-1o; "Home Town Honors Chris Kraft," Houston Chronicle, November lo, 1965.
8"MSC biographical news release, "Caldwell C. Johnson, Chief of Spacecraft Systems
Division, Apollo Project Office, NASA Manned Spacecraft Center, Houston, Texas, De-
cember 2, 1962, MSC Archives.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 71, July 1967 - April, 1968, periodical, 1968; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117145/m1/442/: accessed June 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.