President John Kennedy’s Moon Race Message
Was it prophetic?
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President John Kennedy Addresses the Nation at Rice Stadium about Moon Race
(September 12, 1962)
Below are two narratives. The first is a collection of excerpts from President John Kennedy’s message delivered on September 12, 1962 to students and faculty at Rice University. The speech topic was America’s Moon program known as Apollo. The second narrative is a summary of the Apollo program from Wikipedia. The assignment is to carefully read both accounts looking for outcomes which were predicted in JFK’s message. In a one page paper, explain those post speech events which might be deemed prophetic. Base your narrative on what came to pass in the subsequent decade following the President’s speech. (Hint: Several statements are italicized that might be included.)
Message by President John F. Kennedy, Rice Stadium, September 12, 1962
Despite the striking fact that most of the scientists that the world has ever known are alive and working today, despite the fact that this Nation¹s own scientific manpower is doubling every 12 years - despite that the vast stretches of the unknown and the unanswered and the unfinished still far outstrip our collective comprehension.
No man can fully grasp how far and how fast we have come. This is a breathtaking pace, and such a pace cannot help but create new ills as it dispels old, new ignorance, new problems, new dangers. Surely the opening vistas of space promise high costs and hardships, as well as high reward.
So it is not surprising that some would have us stay where we are a little longer to rest, to wait. But this city of Houston, this State of Texas, this country of the United States was not built by those who waited and rested and wished to look behind them. This country was conquered by those who moved forward - and so will space.
William Bradford, speaking in 1630 of the founding of the Plymouth Bay Colony, said that all great and honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulties, and both must be enterprised and overcome with answerable courage.
The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in it or not, and it is one of the great adventures of all time, and no nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in the race for space. This generation does not intend to founder in the backwash of the coming age of space. We mean to be a part of it--we mean to lead it. For the eyes of the world now look into space, to the moon and to the planets beyond. This is in some measure an act of faith and vision, for we do not now know what benefits await us.
But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas? We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.
But if I were to say, my fellow citizens, that we shall send to the moon, 240,000 miles away from the control station in Houston, a giant rocket more than 300 feet tall, the length of this football field, made of new metal alloys, some of which have not yet been invented, capable of standing heat and stresses several times more than have ever been experienced, fitted together with a precision better than the finest watch, carrying all the equipment needed for propulsion, guidance, control, communications, food and survival, on an untried mission, to an unknown celestial body, and then return it safely to earth, re-entering the atmosphere at speeds of over 25,000 miles per hour, causing heat about half that of the temperature of the Sun - almost as hot as it is here today - and do all this, and do it right, and do it first before this decade is out - then we must be bold.
Many years ago the great British explorer George Mallory, who was to die on Mount Everest, was asked why he wanted to climb it. He said, "Because it is there." Well, space is there, and we're going to climb it, and the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there. And, therefore, as we set sail, we ask God's blessing on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked. Thank you.
The Apollo Moon Landing Program Summary
The Apollo Program landed the first humans on Earth's Moon. Conceived during the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower and conducted by NASA, Apollo began in earnest after President John F. Kennedy's May 25, 1961 special address to a joint session of Congress declaring a national goal of "landing a man on the Moon" by the end of the decade.
This goal was accomplished with the Apollo 11 mission on July 20, 1969 when astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the Moon, while Michael Collins remained in lunar orbit. Five subsequent Apollo missions also landed astronauts on the Moon, the last in December 1972. In these six Apollo spaceflights, 12 men walked on the Moon. These are the only times humans have landed on another celestial body.
The Apollo program ran from 1961 until 1975, and was the US civilian space agency's third human spaceflight program (following Mercury and Gemini). Apollo used Apollo spacecraft and Saturn launch vehicles, which were later used for the Skylab program and the joint American-Soviet Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. These subsequent programs are thus often considered part of the Apollo program.
The program was accomplished with only two major setbacks: The first was the Apollo 1 launch pad fire that resulted in the deaths of astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee; the second was an oxygen tank rupture on Apollo 13 during the Moonward phase of its journey, which disabled the command spacecraft. Using the lunar module as a "lifeboat", the three astronauts aboard narrowly escaped with their lives, thanks to the efforts of flight controllers, project engineers, backup crew members and the skills of the astronauts.
Apollo set major milestones in human spaceflight. It stands alone in sending manned missions beyond low Earth orbit; Apollo 8 was the first manned spacecraft to orbit another celestial body, while Apollo 17 marked the last Moonwalk and the last manned mission beyond low Earth orbit. The program spurred advances in many areas of technology incidental to rocketry and manned spaceflight, including avionics, telecommunications, and computers. Apollo sparked interest in many fields of engineering and left many physical facilities and machines developed for the program as landmarks. Many objects and artifacts from the program are on display at locations throughout the world, notably in the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museums.