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The Voice of the Apollo Moon Shots, Jack King, Dies at Age 84

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Jack King, a NASA public affairs official who became the voice of the Apollo moon shots, died Thursday. He was 84.

King counted down the historic launch of Apollo 11 on July 16, 1969. He also did the countdown for hundreds of the early rocket launches, including the two-man Gemini missions and many other Apollo missions.

Image: Jack King
In the Firing Room of the Kennedy Space Center's Launch Control Center, Jack King's announcements keep the public up-to-date during the countdown for Apollo 12, the second lunar landing mission, launched Nov. 14, 1969. NASA file

King died at a hospice facility, not far from Kennedy Space Center, said Hugh Harris, retired director of public affairs at Kennedy. King had been diagnosed early this year with heart failure.

In 2009, on the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, King said that he still enjoyed hearing recordings of himself from that big launch day. "I wish I had a penny for every time it was used," he told The Associated Press.

A look back at the Apollo 11 mission 43:51

King became director of public affairs for NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston in 1972, and was a member of the three-man team that negotiated an information plan for the joint U.S.-Soviet Apollo-Soyuz flight in 1975.

He went on from NASA to other jobs in public relations, and retired from his job as a spokesman for United Space Alliance in 2010. Even after retirement, he continued to serve as a NASA public affairs volunteer.