May 25, 2013
JFK SET AMERICA ON A COURSE TO THE MOON 52 YEARS AGO TODAY!
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) 52 years ago today, May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy gave the historic speech to a joint session of the Congress which set the goal for the United States of America to "land a man on the moon" by the end of the decade.
"I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth."
In what he called his "Second State of the Union" message, JFK also asked Congress to fund the massive cost of an accelerated space program.
President Kennedy prefaced his remarks to Congress with these words...
"If we are to win the battle...between freedom and tyranny, (our recent)...achievements in space...should have made clear...the impact of this adventure on the minds of men everywhere who are attempting to determine which road they should take.
Now it is time for this nation to take a...leading role in space achievement.
I believe we possess all the resources and talents necessary..."
JFK admitted the Soviet Union at this point was ahead of us and that there were no guarantees that we would ever overtake their lead, but he added...
"Any failure to make this effort will make us last."
After President Kennedy set the goal of landing a man on the moon and "returning him safely to the earth," he said...
"No single space project...will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space, and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish."
The President then outlined the range of expenditures it would be necessary for Congress to approve in order to achieve this goal....
$23 million for development of a Rover nuclear rocket...
$50 million to accelerate the use of space satellites for world communication...
$75 million for a satellite system for world wide weather observation...
A total expenditure of $531 million in fiscal 1962 and from $7 to $9 BILLION from 1963 to 1968.
President Kennedy reminded the Congress...
"I believe we should go to the moon (but)...we must be prepared to...bear the (financial) burdens to make it successful."*
"May 25, 1961" JFK's Moon Shot Speech to Congress," www.space.com/
*While President John F. Kennedy did not live to see it, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin fulfilled his visionary goal 8 years later as they walked on the lunar surface, July 20, 1969.
Sargent Shriver once said there is no way we can really understand how "visionary" and"incredible" JFK's goal was on May 25, 1961.
Shriver said, "After all the moon has been up there a long time and...no one ever thought about it ever being possible for a man to walk on (it)."
JFK Speaking to Congress
VP Johnson and House Speaker Rayburn
May 25, 1961