Today is the 50th anniversary of JFK’s moon speech.

With this speech, the USA effectively abandoned any plan to return to the pre-Sputnik paradigm of an orderly and systematic exploration and exploitation of outer space; and confirmed that all of our space infrastructure development would be for specific, one-off Grand Projects instead of for generic, multi-purpose use.  And, oh, yes, that we’d get to the Moon without actually making sure that we would find it easier to go back a second time.

It’s enough to make me wish for a time machine, except that: I don’t speak Russian; couldn’t find Baikonur on a map; and don’t know how to operate a surface-to-air missile anyway.  Still, if that damned beeping ball Sputnik had blown up on the pad in 1957 then maybe JFK wouldn’t have mucked up the American manned space program* so thoroughly in 1961…

(Full disclosure: my wife works in a space-related field.)

Moe Lane

*Which is rapidly becoming the former American manned space program.

1 Comment

  • countrydoc says:

    I’ve been a big fan of space exploration since childhood, but the time has come to end NASA. We are broke, we have no money, we need to cut everything. If we can’t afford the F-22, we can’t afford new heavy lift vehicles. I too would love to “explore strange, new worlds…”, but bad times are coming. We cannot be a leader in space and declare sovereign bankruptcy at the same time, gutting Medicaid, SS, Medicare along the way. Turn it over to the corporations and hope they can do something with it.

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