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James Hartsfield Janaury 14, 1994

RELEASE: 94-007

JSC DIRECTOR OF MISSION OPERATIONS GENE KRANZ TO RETIRE

Eugene F. Kranz, Director of Mission Operations at the Johnson Space Center, said today he will retire on March 3 after 36 years of government service. As of Kranz' retirement, Deputy Director for Mission Operations John O'Neill will become Acting Director of Mission Operations.

Kranz joined NASA in 1960 as one of the original Project Mercury assistant flight directors and has been intimately involved in the development of flight control operations for all U.S. manned space flights. Kranz played a pivotal role in the Apollo program and was the flight director for the first lunar landing on Apollo 11. He also played a lead role in the Mission Control Center's successful efforts to return the crippled Apollo 13 spacecraft and its three astronauts safely to Earth after an explosion disabled the craft enroute to the Moon in 1970.

"Gene has served his country and NASA well and has earned a place in history," said Dr. Carolyn Huntoon, Johnson Space Center Director. "He was among the handful of people who invented manned space flight and he bears much of the responsibility for assembling and leading the organization which planned and controlled some of America's greatest accomplishments in space, including the recent mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.

"His talents will be sorely missed, but he has given his country a tradition of excellence that is carried on with the operation and control of each new space flight," Huntoon added.

Among his many honors, Kranz received the nation's highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and on four occasions he has been the recipient of

Presidential Rank awards, the highest recognition accorded U.S. Civil Service employees.

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Kranz, 60, received a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering from Parks

College of St. Louis University in 1954. He began his career in aerospace as a flight test

loads engineer with McDonnell Aircraft. In 1955, he joined the U.S. Air Force, serving as

a pilot flying single engine jet aircraft, including the F-80, F-86 and the F-100. In 1958, he was assigned as an Air Force flight test engineer and supervisor of B-52 and B-47 carrier and missile system flight test maintenance and checkout at Holliman Air Force Base, New Mexico.

In 1960, he joined NASA and the Space Task Group, which ultimately became the Johnson Space Center, as chief of the Flight Control Operations Branch. He served as an assistant flight director for Project Mercury and as a flight director for the Gemini Program. In 1969, he became chief of the Flight Control Division, serving as a flight director for the Apollo and Skylab programs.

In 1974, Kranz became deputy director of flight operations, developing and then directing the flight control operations of the Space Shuttle. In 1983, he was named to his present post as director of mission operations.

In that role, Kranz has had responsibility for the planning and development of Shuttle missions, the training of astronauts and flight controllers for each mission, and the real-time control and operation of Shuttle missions. His responsibilities also have included the planning and development of Space Station flight control, operations and training.

Kranz' many honors and awards include the NASA Exceptional Service Medal in 1969 and 1970; the Arthur S. Fleming Award in 1970; the NASA Distinguished Service Medal in 1970, 1981 and 1988; the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal in 1973; the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Lawrence Sperry Award in 1967; the St. Louis University Alumni Merit Award in 1968; the American Astronautical Society Space Flight Award in 1987; the Robert R. Gilruth Award in 1988; the National Space Club's Astronautics Engineer Award in 1992, and the St. Louis University President's Award in 1993.

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