PRESENTED BY CHRIS KRAFT TO JAMES FLETCHER.
Desktop presentation comprising three flown flags, each 4 x 6 inches, and accompanying plaques, mahogany, the flags behind lucite panels. 13 x 13 x 6 inches. The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project flag with white areas rather reddened.
WITH FLOWN AMERICAN FLAGS FROM APOLLO 17, SKYLAB 2, AND ASTPkey missions in which Fletcher was intimately involved.
The upper plaque records the presentation on April 21, 1977 to Dr. James C. Fletcher, NASA Administrator and "an outstanding civil servant," by Christopher C. Kraft, Director of Johnson Space Center. Four smaller plaques detail the flown US flags and highlight all human space flight programs and the specific missions which were under Fletcher's leadership. The gift was made on the occasion of Fletcher's retirement, although he would later return to NASA as Administrator in the wake of the Challenger disasterbecoming the only individual to lead NASA twice.
The fourth side of the presentation leaves room for a flag from the Shuttle program: Fletcher gained the approval of the Nixon administration in 1972 to develop the Space Shuttle as the continuation of human space flight after the Apollo program. The first manned Shuttle flight did not take place until 1981, some four years after Fletcher's retirement, so a plaque in the form of a detailed letter from Kraft acts as a place-holder: "This space reserved for Space Shuttle flag." Probably the presentation of a Shuttle flag was overlooked in 1981, and when Fletcher returned to NASA after the 1986 Challenger disaster, it would surely have been deemed inappropriate. In all likelihood, Fletcher did receive the US flag reserved for him by Kraft on STS-1 prior to 1986 but never added it to this presentation, preferring to retain the thoughtful plaque from Kraft.
Mission Control at Johnson Space Center has recently been renamed in Kraft's honor. Included in the lot is a program from the dedication ceremony, and a set of both iconic and lesser-known images in digital format of the Space Shuttle program and the Apollo missions these flags flew on.