Papas Fritas writes:
"In 1973, when a solar panel and shield were torn from the Skylab Space Station, leaving the orbiting Skylab exposed to a dangerous level of solar heat, Jack A. Kinzler, chief of the all-purpose machine and tool shop at NASA's Johnson Space Center, turned to one of mankind's oldest sun shields: the parasol and fashioned a heat-resistant 24-by-28-foot makeshift sun umbrella for Skylab using telescoping fiberglass fishing rods to build his prototype.
In 1971, when astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr. wanted to test his golf swing on the surface of the moon, Kinzler helped design a 6-iron golf club head then had it attached to a lunar-sampling scoop. Emerging from his spacecraft, astronaut Shepard hit two golf balls with it. Sports trivia buffs remember that he shanked the first ball but connected solidly with the second. Shepard claimed the two golf balls traveled "miles and miles."
Kinzler and his team also figured out a way to display the U.S. flag on the moon devising collapsible staffs that made the flags appear to be flapping in the moon's airless environment. Kinzler told the Houston Chronicle that he was distressed by conspiracy theorists who pointed to the rippling in the moon-planted flags as proof that the lunar landing by Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin in 1969 was a hoax. The moon, after all, has no air as we know it. 'The reason for that ripple is so simple you wouldn't believe,' said Kinzler. 'I put an aluminum telescoping tube in the top, just like you have on some curtain rods. There's a latch on it, with a hinge that allows it to be pulled out, and as they extended the tube, the flag rippled. That's all.'"
His feet may have never left the ground - but he played an important part in space exploration. RIP.