JFK+50: Volume 5, No. 1933JFK GOT LBJ'S EVALUATION OF U.S. SPACE PROGRAM 55 YEARS AGO
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Fifty-five years ago, April 28, 1961, Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson sent John F. Kennedy a memorandum, in response to the President's request of April 20th, asking for an up-to-date evaluation of the United States' space program.
Following are a few of the points the Vice-President made in the memo...
*The Soviets were ahead of the USA in the space race because of "their concentrated effort and earlier emphasis on the development of large rocket engines."
*US had failed to make "hard decisions" to achieve leadership in space
*Space achievement was a major indication of a nation's world leadership. Other nations would follow the lead of the nation that was the leader in the space race.
*US leadership in space was achievable.
*Manned exploration of the moon was an "essential" objective.
The sources the Vice-President used for this memo included the Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, and Dr. Wernher von Braun of NASA.
Also, in response to JFK's questions, LBJ answers...
*We can beat the Soviets to the moon by 1966 or 1967. Manned exploration of the moon would be of "great propaganda value" to the United states.
*It will cost $1,000,000,000 a year for 10 years.
"Memorandum from Vice-President Johnson to President Kennedy on the Space Program," www.jfklibrary.org/