Space Race

JFK and the Space Race

"[G]oing to the moon is the top-priority project. . . . I do think we ought to get it, you know, really clear, that the policy ought to be that this is the top-priority program of the agency and one of the two—except for defense—the top priority of the United States Government."

"[W]e’ve spent half the expenditures, we’ve wrecked our budget on all these other domestic programs, and the only justification for it, in my opinion, to do it in the pell-mell fashion is because we hope to beat them [the Soviets] and demonstrate that starting behind it [them], as we did by a couple of years, by God, we passed them. I think it would be a helluva thing for us."

John F. Kennedy, November 21, 1962

Fly Me To the Moon

Transcript+Audio Clip
Date: 
Participants: John Kennedy, James Webb, Robert Seamans, Hugh Dryden, Jerome Wiesner                  
Introduction:

On November 21, 1962, the White House Cabinet Room became the setting for a pivotal and volatile meeting on the course of the U.S. space program. The main participants in the meeting were President John F. Kennedy and James Webb, head of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. At issue was the very purpose of NASA and its Apollo program, the project that sought to land a man on the moon before the end of the decade.

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