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#1 2008-03-14 23:01:19

RVingRetiree
Member
From: Wherever RV is parked
Registered: 2008-03-08
Posts: 7

Re: John F. Kennedy's Space Vision?

This is the opening to John F. Kennedy's Senate speech of August 14, 1958 on the missile gap, which appears in his 1960 book, The Strategy of Peace.

====

The Missile Gap
In the Senate
August 14, 1958

Mr. President, four hundred years ago the British Crown and people realized with a sense of shock that they had lost Calais forever. Long considered an impregnable symbol of British supremacy in Europe, this last foothold of English power on the Continent was surrendered to the French in 1558. It is said that when Mary of England died, in the same year, the word "Calais" was engraved upon her heart --- but that she was, in the words of The Cambridge Modern History, an eminent example "of the inadequacy of deep convictions and pious motives to guide the state aright." Once they had recovered from their initial panic, the British set about adjusting their thinking and their policies to the loss they had suffered. With their gateway to the Continent gone, they sought new power and influence in the seas. A navy was built, new trade routes promoted, a new maritime emphasis established; and when the Spanish Armada was defeated in 1588, the panic and pessimism that had followed the loss of Calais were forgotten as Britannia ruled the waves. The old power, the foundation for old policies, was gone --- but new policies had brought a new power and new security.

====

How far did Kennedy carry this historical analogy with Elizabethan England in his own head? Did he actually picture a transition into a spacefaring nation as part of it? Was this a factor in his Apollo decision?

Comments?

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#2 2008-03-15 01:52:05

cIclops
Member
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: John F. Kennedy's Space Vision?

How far did Kennedy carry this historical analogy with Elizabethan England in his own head? Did he actually picture a transition into a spacefaring nation as part of it? Was this a factor in his Apollo decision?

Comments?

Probably not very far; probably not; and no. Did Kennedy even write that  speech, he apparently didn't write later speeches.

Sorensen drafted Kennedy’s famous 1961 inaugural speech

There are several biographies about JFK's life, maybe there's evidence that he thought about these things. Given his non technical political background and his busy social life, it would seem unlikely that he considered them. The main considerations would have been the military, international status and commercial implications in approving the proposed Apollo project. Did the concept of a space fairing nation even exist in 1961? What existed was a state of cold war and a competition with the Soviets under the threat of nuclear devastation.

And congratulations on your first post!


Let's go to Mars and far beyond -  triple NASA's budget !   #space channel !!    - videos !!!

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#3 2008-03-15 10:06:02

RVingRetiree
Member
From: Wherever RV is parked
Registered: 2008-03-08
Posts: 7

Re: John F. Kennedy's Space Vision?

Probably not very far; probably not; and no. Did Kennedy even write that  speech, he apparently didn't write later speeches.

I was in the first year of college when Kennedy was elected. I supported him throughout that campaign primarily because of his support of space. At that time, no distinction was made between missiles developed for ICBM's, and rockets for space use, because they were interchangeable. The missile gap was also a space gap, and we that followed it knew it. Even if there were no eventual missile gap in ICBM's for defense, we were behind in space, so there was a space gap, which Kennedy filled with Apollo within his first 5 months in office.

Sorenson drafted many of Kennedy's speeches, but Kennedy wrote and rewrote much of his own material too. When Drew Pearson accused Kennedy of having had Sorenson write Profiles in Courage, he had his hand written drafts of the book delivered to him to examine. Certainly Sorenson's later efforts show little of Kennedy's vision.

In general, the problem I have with those that claim Kennedy wasn't serious about space is that he did more to support it than any President since. Actions speak louder than words. And the quote from his missile gap speech suggests to me that he did have the long term vision as well, and rather early on at that.

Thanks for the welcome to the forum! Years ago I posted frequently to the sci.space.policy newsgroup, but located this forum through the Mars Society (I'm a member). I hope I'm not too much of a cantankerous old guy now ...  big_smile

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#4 2008-03-18 18:55:07

Martian Republic
Member
From: Haltom City- Dallas/Fort Worth
Registered: 2004-06-13
Posts: 855

Re: John F. Kennedy's Space Vision?

Welcome to the New Mars Forum RVingRetiree.

It kind of nice to have someone else around this forum that understands that John F. Kennedy had a long range space program concept and not just a short term concept of space. That the Apollo Moon Mission project wasn't just a cold war deal, but Kennedy was thinking about the economic system of the United States. John F. Kennedy understand what I understand, there are two basic ways to develop technologies and they are:

1. Start a war and then develop new technologies to beat your enemy. Which is one of the primary ways that we developed new technologies.

2. Start great massive government projects, like Able Lincolns Transcontinental Rail road, FDR New Deal or John F. Kennedy Moon Mission Goal of getting to the Moon before the decade is out.

Again, Welcome to this forum.

Larry,

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#5 2008-03-18 19:14:50

RVingRetiree
Member
From: Wherever RV is parked
Registered: 2008-03-08
Posts: 7

Re: John F. Kennedy's Space Vision?

Welcome to the New Mars Forum RVingRetiree.

Thanks Larry.

We lost a giant today with the death of Arthur C. Clarke. I met him once at a talk by Freeman J. Dyson which Dyson published later ("Human Consequences of the Exploration of Space." Carlson Memorial Lecture, April 1968. Bull. Atomic Scientists, 25, Sept. 1969, pp. 8--13, Reprinted in ``Man on the Moon,'' Ed. E. Rabinowitch and R. S. Lewis. Basic Books Inc., New York, 1969.). Clarke was seated in the back of the room, and at the end of the talk, Dyson introduced him as, "My friend, Arthur C. Clarke" ...

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#6 2008-04-07 17:36:59

Ron Carlson
Member
From: Near JSC
Registered: 2007-12-08
Posts: 39

Re: John F. Kennedy's Space Vision?

In general, the problem I have with those that claim Kennedy wasn't serious about space is that he did more to support it than any President since. Actions speak louder than words. And the quote from his missile gap speech suggests to me that he did have the long term vision as well, and rather early on at that.

It could be argued that Kennedy's successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, easily did as much, if not more, than Kennedy did.

The same could be argued for Texas Congresmman Olin "Tiger" Teague.

NASA's Manned Space Center in Clear Lake, Texas was renamed the Johnson Space Center in honor of all that LBJ did for America's space program.

Ron Carlson

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#7 2008-04-11 23:19:37

RVingRetiree
Member
From: Wherever RV is parked
Registered: 2008-03-08
Posts: 7

Re: John F. Kennedy's Space Vision?

It could be argued that Kennedy's successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, easily did as much, if not more, than Kennedy did.

Ron, I agree that Lyndon Johnson and some of his allies were powerful space program backers. I didn't worry about the Apollo Program while he was president.

I saw Apollo 15 lift off for the Moon early on the morning of July 26, 1971, from across the Inland Waterway from the launch site. The previous afternoon, the Space Center Tour took us to within a mile of the vehicle, which was standing on the other side of a pond on its launch pad with the gantry rolled back. Both that, and the launch the next morning were unforgettable.

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#8 2008-04-16 17:42:10

Ron Carlson
Member
From: Near JSC
Registered: 2007-12-08
Posts: 39

Re: John F. Kennedy's Space Vision?

It could be argued that Kennedy's successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, easily did as much, if not more, than Kennedy did.

Ron, I agree that Lyndon Johnson and some of his allies were powerful space program backers. I didn't worry about the Apollo Program while he was president.

RVingRetiree,

I don't see any of the current 3 dwarfs running for President as having much vision for America's space program.

I particularly worry about B. Hussein "Less Than Zero" Obama wanting to cripple NASA's budget in favor of more bloated educational programs.

Jeez, can't people just check out a book from the library and teach themselves?

Hillary seems to have some knowledge of the space program, probably as a result of political osmosis over the years.

I do not know about McCains position on the space program or NASA's budget. Does anyone have any info on this?


Ron Carlson

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#9 2008-04-16 18:03:51

Ron Carlson
Member
From: Near JSC
Registered: 2007-12-08
Posts: 39

Re: John F. Kennedy's Space Vision?

I do not know about McCains position on the space program or NASA's budget. Does anyone have any info on this?

I just found the link below in another thread. While McCain's position sounds like standard political boilerplate to me, at least he is not talking about whacking NASA's budget like B. Hussein "Less Than Zero" Obama is.

Ron Carlson

http://www.johnmccain.com/Informing/Iss … 01d8ee.htm

America's Space Program
 

"Let us now embark upon this great journey into the stars to find whatever may await us."

-John McCain

John McCain is a strong supporter of NASA and the space program. He is proud to have sponsored legislation authorizing funding consistent with the President's vision for the space program, which includes  a return of astronauts to the Moon in preparation for a manned mission to Mars. He believes support for a continued US presence in space is of major importance to America's future innovation and security. He has also been a staunch advocate for ensuring that NASA funding is accompanied by proper management and oversight to ensure that the taxpayers receive the maximum return on their investment. John McCain believes curiosity and a drive to explore have always been quintessential American traits. This has been most evident in the space program, for which he will continue his strong support.

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#10 2008-04-16 21:06:11

RVingRetiree
Member
From: Wherever RV is parked
Registered: 2008-03-08
Posts: 7

Re: John F. Kennedy's Space Vision?

Does anyone have any info on this?

Ron, if you're not currently receiving the Mars Society bulletins, including bulletins on campaign positions and political action responses, you might want to try them. Go to

http://www.marssociety.org/portal

There's also a political action page at

http://www.marssociety.org/ptf/index.shtml

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#11 2008-04-17 02:11:34

cIclops
Member
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: John F. Kennedy's Space Vision?

There's even a topic all about this next door!


Let's go to Mars and far beyond -  triple NASA's budget !   #space channel !!    - videos !!!

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#12 2008-04-18 09:58:53

RVingRetiree
Member
From: Wherever RV is parked
Registered: 2008-03-08
Posts: 7

Re: John F. Kennedy's Space Vision?

There's even a topic all about this next door!

Thanks cIclops!

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#13 2008-04-19 15:10:41

Ron Carlson
Member
From: Near JSC
Registered: 2007-12-08
Posts: 39

Re: John F. Kennedy's Space Vision?

Does anyone have any info on this?

Ron, if you're not currently receiving the Mars Society bulletins, including bulletins on campaign positions and political action responses, you might want to try them. Go to

http://www.marssociety.org/portal

There's also a political action page at

http://www.marssociety.org/ptf/index.shtml

RVingRetiree,

Thanks for the info. I've used the political action page in the past though I am unfamiliar with the portal page (which isn't loading up for me today).

I also like to search Google News at http://news.google.com to find NASA and other info.

Ron

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