Space Policy, JFK, and Space Exploration

Dr. John Logsdon, Professor Emeritus of Political Science and International Affairs at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, talk, based on Dr. Logsdon’s forthcoming book, will review JFK’s involvement with Apollo. It will assess the results of Apollo, both in terms of the reasons that led President Kennedy to approve it and in terms of its impact on the U.S. space program over the past four decades.

May 25, 2011 will mark the fiftieth anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s speech to a joint session of Congress announcing his decision to send Americans to the Moon “before this decade is out.” Kennedy not only made this momentous decision just four months after becoming president; in the thirty months remaining in his tragically shortened time in the White House, he several times reviewed its wisdom, even as he approved the peaceful but war-like mobilization of resources required to achieve the goal he had set for the nation. In the months just before he was assassinated, Kennedy both proposed turning the Apollo lunar landing program into a joint effort with the Soviet Union and authorized a top-level review of the program’s goal and schedule.

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