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Philip Kitchens

Philip Kitchens


Philip Kitchens’ fascination with space began at the age of six when his father gave him a small telescope that opened the wonders of the universe for a small boy. A native of Louisiana, Phil earned a degree in chemical engineering from Louisiana Tech in 1967. As graduation approached, Phil’s father took him to hear a presentation by Wernher von Braun in Shreveport. Mesmerized by von Braun’s presentation, Phil was able to meet the scientist in person. Hooked on the potential for a career in aerospace, he applied and was accepted to work at NASA as a part of the Apollo team during a period that included both profound tragedy and sublime triumph. Among the missions that Kitchens supported were Apollo 8, the first human astronautic mission to the moon; Apollo 11, the first mission to land humans on the moon; and Apollo 13, the near tragedy that was averted only with creativity and grace. After five years with NASA, Phil earned a library science degree and worked as a librarian at the Redstone Arsenal Technical Library until his retirement in 2003. After retiring, he volunteered his time as a NASA Emeritus Docent at the US Space and Rocket Center, educating and inspiring the many guests and Space Camp that visited the museum until his death in September 2023.

“By encouraging future scientists and engineers, perhaps even in aerospace, I hope to catalyze their occupational paths, each to an eventual personal, individual internal sense of fulfillment.”

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