Address At Rice University in Houston on the Nation’s Space Effort on September 12, 1962 - History

Address At Rice University in Houston on the Nation’s Space Effort on September 12, 1962 - History

Pitzer, Mr. Vice President, Governor, Congressman Thomas, Senator Wiley, and Congressman Miller, Mr. Webb. Mr. Bell, scientists, distinguished guests, and ladies and gentlemen:

I appreciate your president having made me an honorary visiting professor, and I will assure you that my first lecture will be very brief.

I am delighted to be here and I'm particularly delighted to be here on this occasion.

We meet at a college noted for knowledge, in a city noted for progress, in a State noted for strength, and we stand in need of all three, for we meet in an hour of change and challenge, in a decade of hope and fear, in an age of both knowledge and ignorance. The greater our knowledge increases, the greater our ignorance unfolds.

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 Nation's own scientific manpower is doubling every 12 years in a rate of growth more than three times that of our population as a whole, 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, but condense, if you will, the 50,000 years of man's recorded history in a time span of but a half-century. Stated in these terms, we know very little about the first 40 years, except at the end of them advanced man had learned to use the skins of animals to cover them. Then about 10 years ago, under this standard, man emerged from his caves to construct other kinds of shelter. Only 5 years ago man learned to write and use a cart with wheels. Christianity began less than 2 years ago. The printing press came this year, and then less than 2 months ago, during this whole 50-year span of human history, the steam engine provided a new source of power.

Newton explored the meaning of gravity. Last month electric lights and telephones and automobiles and airplanes became available. Only last week did we develop penicillin and television and nuclear power, and now if America's new spacecraft succeeds in reaching Venus, we will have literally reached the stars before midnight tonight.

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.

If this capsule history of our progress teaches us anything, it is that man, in his quest for knowledge and progress, is determined and cannot be deterred. 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 this race for space.

Those who came before us made certain that this country rode the first waves of the industrial revolutions, the first waves of modern invention, and the first wave of nuclear power, and 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, and we have vowed that we shall not see it governed by a hostile flag of conquest, but by a banner of freedom and peace. We have vowed that we shall not see space filled with weapons of mass destruction, but with instruments of knowledge and understanding.

Yet the vows of this Nation can only be fulfilled if we in this Nation are first, and, therefore, we intend to be first. In short, our leadership in science and in industry, our hopes for peace and security, our obligations to ourselves as well as others, all require us to make this effort, to solve these mysteries, to solve them for the good of all men, and to become the world's leading space-faring nation.

We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people. For space science, like nuclear science and all technology, has no conscience of its own. Whether it will become a force for good or ill depends on man, and only if the United States occupies a position of pre-eminence can we help decide whether this new ocean will be a sea of peace or a new terrifying theater of war. I do not say that we should or will go unprotected against the hostile misuse of space any more than we go unprotected against the hostile use of land or sea, but I do say that space can be explored and mastered without feeding the fires of war, without repeating the mistakes that man has made in extending his writ around this globe of ours.

There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation may never come again. 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. 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 willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

It is for these reasons that I regard the decision last year to shift our efforts in space from low to high gear as among the most important decisions that will be made during my incumbency in the Office of the Presidency.

In the last 24 hours we have seen facilities now being created for the greatest and most complex exploration in man's history. We have felt the ground shake and the air shattered by the testing of a Saturn C-1 booster rocket, many times as powerful as the Atlas which launched John Glenn, generating power equivalent to 10,000 automobiles with their accelerators on the floor. We have seen the site where five F-1 rocket engines, each one as powerful as all eight engines of the Saturn combined, will be clustered together to make the advanced Saturn missile, assembled in a new building to be built at Cape Canaveral as tall as a 48-story structure, as wide as a city block, and as long as two lengths of this field.

Within these last 19 months at least 45 satellites have circled the earth. Some 40 of them were "made in the United States of America" and they were far more sophisticated and supplied far more knowledge to the people of the world than those of the Soviet Union.

The Mariner spacecraft now on its way to Venus is the most intricate instrument in the history of space science. The accuracy of that shot is comparable to firing a missile from Cape Canaveral and dropping it in this stadium between the 40-yard lines.

Transit satellites are helping our ships at sea to steer a safer course. Tiros satellites have given us unprecedented warnings of hurricanes and storms, and will do the same for forest fires and icebergs.

We have had our failures, but so have others, even if they do not admit them. And they may be less public.

To be sure, we are behind, and will be behind for some time in manned flight. But we do not intend to stay behind, and in this decade we shall make up and move ahead.

The growth of our science and education will be enriched by new knowledge of our universe and environment, by new techniques of learning and mapping and observation, by new tools and computers for industry, medicine, the home as well as the school. Technical institutions, such as Rice, will reap the harvest of these gains.

And finally, the space effort itself, while still in its infancy, has already created a great number of new companies, and tens of thousands of new jobs. Space and related industries are generating new demands in investment and skilled personnel, and this city and this State, and this region, will share greatly in this growth. What was once the furthest outpost on the old frontier of the West will be the furthest outpost on the new frontier of science and space. Houston, your City of Houston, with its Manned Spacecraft Center, will become the heart of a large scientific and engineering community. During the next 5 years the National Aeronautics and Space Administration expects to double the number of scientists and engineers in this area, to increase its outlays for salaries and expenses to $60 million a year; to invest some $200 million in plant and laboratory facilities; and to direct or contract for new space efforts over $1 billion from this Center in this City.

To be sure, all this costs us all a good deal of money. This year's space budget is three times what it was in January 1961, and it is greater than the space budget of the previous 8 years combined. That budget now stands at $5,400 million a year--a staggering sum, though somewhat less than we pay for cigarettes and cigars every year. Space expenditures will soon rise some more, from 40 cents per person per week to more than 50 cents a week for every man, woman, and child in the United States, for we have given this program a high national priority-even though I realize that this is in some measure an act of faith and vision, for we do not now know what benefits await us. 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, reentering 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.

I'm the one who is doing all the work, so we just want you to stay cool for a minute. [Laughter]

However, I think we're going to do it, and I think that we must pay what needs to be paid. I don't think we ought to waste any money, but I think we ought to do the job. And this will be done in the decade of the sixties. It may be done while some of you are still here at school at this college and university. It will be done during the terms of office of some of the people who sit here on this platform. But it will be done. And it will be done before the end of this decade.

I am delighted that this university is playing a part in putting a man on the moon as part of a great national effort of the United States of America.

Many years ago the great British explorer George Mallory, who was to die on Mount Everest, was asked why did he want 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.


Analysis of John F. kennedy’s Speech at Rice university, Houston , Texas – May 1963

This clip is taken from a speech of John F. Kennedy the speaker and his speech both are extremely popular with the public in general.

John F. Kennedy was the 35 th president of United States of America and his tenure was from 1961-1963, a short one. However, he has been one of the extremely popular presidents of USA. The speech that is under consideration was his famous speech which he gave in Rice, city of Houston. This speech is considered to be a milestone in the history of USA and is said to have impacted the international scenario too.

Location and Audience

On September 12, 1962, this famous speech was delivered, in a football stadium at Rice University, Houston, Texas, before a crowd of 3500 people. Kennedy spoke at the stadium at 10 a.m. Sept. 12

As Jade Boyd (2012) wrote that it was a warm day, a sunny day and fall classes were yet to commence. Many of the new comers were there on the campus. There were adults, kids and youth as part of the audience.

According to Paul Burka (1963) executive editor of Texas monthly magazine wrote in his blog that the speech that Kennedy gave at Rice, was a phenomenal one in which he had addressed the Americans as a Nation. The speech came out at a time when it was most needed by the Nation. His words gave them hope in the future which seemed bleak at that moment.

As stated on the website “John F Kennedy, Presidential Life and Museum”, when John F. Kennedy was instated as the president, the race space was the most happening agenda globally. It had seemed that the United States was lagging behind in this arena and Soviets were leading the race. So this speech turned out to be a well thought out maneuver by the President, and he sensed that the nation needed a spirit and morale boost up. He had first stood up to the Congress and proclaimed that “this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before the decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.”

Additionally, Kennedy had won the election by means of a popular vote margin in the history of USA. He wanted his speech as an inspiration for the nation. He also wanted to send across a message that would give his nation hope in the Cold War against Soviets and also the hope that they were still in the space race. At the same time, he wanted to be brief and precise.

Analysis of the speech in terms of Verbal Communication

There are various speech techniques used in the speech. These shall be visualized in a specific order:

There are many word techniques that have been used in the speech for the purpose of persuasion of the audience (Harrington. M, 2011). These include the below terminologies:

  • Alliteration: same sound beginning a word. Some of the examples are “let us lead the land we love”
  • Anaphora: this is a technique in which a similar phrase or a particular word is used at the start of a sentence or a sentence clause, so that there are many repetitive words beginning a clause, consecutively in a sentence. Examples include: “Let both sides…” “To those old allies… To those new states… To those people…” etc.
  • Antithesis: this is the technique in which contrasting ideas are used in the same sentence. Some of the instances of these are:
    • We observe today not a victory of party but a celebration of freedom…”
    • “not because… not because… but because…”
    • “Not as a call to bear arms… not as a call to battle. but a call to bear the
    • burden…””
    • “that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship…”
    • “For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life.”
    • “Only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt

    that they will never be employed.”

    • Parallelism: this technique makes use of words, phrases or clauses etc. in a structural way that makes them resemble each other in structural form. In the speech, example of technique is given by the following instance:
      • “United there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided there is little we can do…”
      1. Vocalistics

      This is also called the Paralnguage (class notes). According to the Mirriam Webster Dictionary this term means :

      : optional vocal effects (as tone of voice) that accompany or modify the phonemes of an utterance and that may communicate meaning”.

      These include other elements like :

      • Volume: Rate : The rate at which the speech is being delivered is consistent, neither too fast, nor too slow. This means the message is being put across smoothly to the audience at large.
      • Rhythm : The rhythm and tempo is in a smooth flow.
      • Articulation: He is clearly audible , not murmuring or chewing the words. There is clarity of speech.

      JFK’s speech is thoroughly organized as far as the paralanguage is concerned. He has given the right pauses at the right time, emphasis where and when required.

      He has not rushed through the speech it is timed, eloquent and gives enough time to the audience to let the message settle in. The techniques of repetition have been used very timely and appropriately in the speech. Moreover, the speech is divided into paragraphs which mean the audience can better understand the meaning of the message and be with the orator.

      Analysis of Nonverbal Communication in the Presidential Speech

      Communication through the body includes:

      • Facial Expressions
      • Anger
      • Fear
      • Happiness
      • Sadness
      • Gestures
      • Adapters
      • Emblems
      • Illustrators

      These aspects are discussed below with reference to the speech.

      JFK was a great orator he had a remarkable command over using the power of speech to stir his audience. The same phenomenon is very clear in this speech too. Throughout the video of this speech, it is clearly visible that JFK is in control, not only of his words but of his body as well. He is calm, calculated and composed with the use of his words, word delivery and timing of that delivery (Biane. A, 2011). JFK has made use of hand gestures to emphasize his point where necessary. Then, he also makes a strong and confident eye contact with the audience, implying a sense of calm.

      Feelings/ Emotions

      Throughout the speech, the audience can get a sense of emotional connectivity with the president. Though he is the president, yet he does not make the speech boring or dry as political language is. You can connect to what he is saying even if you are not a native English speaker.

      It is very obvious from the speech that he wants his people to feel that he is a human being like they are. Though he is the president, yet he can understand and relate to an ordinary person’s life, their troubles and their life circumstances.

      The speech is not a monotone delivery of words, not the sort one would expect from a newscaster (Biane. A, 2011). They tend to bore the listener and chances are that they switch the channel after watching for not more than five minutes. However, this was not the case in this speech JFK strove to keep it as real as possible and ass engaging as he could. The delivery of words is very accurately timed, it stirs emotions in people, and it is based on hope and spirit. That was one of the attributes of his leadership skills that were very obvious through his speech and presentation style (Christian H, 2007).

      JFK’s posture in this speech is very open and confident. He is moving his body freely and as smoothly as his words (Atkinson. M, 2011). There is no stiffness, no shyness or no rigidity in his body as he delivers his speech. He looks to his right as often as he looks to his left, meaning he is in his element and extremely comfortable throughout the address.

      Kinesics of the speech

      Kinesics means the Communication through the body. Includes:

      • Facial Expressions
      • Anger
      • Fear
      • Happiness
      • Sadness
      • Gestures
      • Adapters
      • Emblems
      • Illustrators

      Some of these aspects with reference to the speech are discussed as below:

      There is an excessive use of hand gestures by the president at important points where he is raising his voice pitch to emphasize a crucial point. He raises and presses his hands to the rostrum in an attempt to underline the importance of his arguments at a particular station in the address.

      Facial Expressions

      The facial expressions that were seen on the president’s face were primarily of an open, approachable and candid person ‘Sorensen, T. 2011’. He is not intimidating anywhere in the speech. As he puts suggestions and hopeful ideas into words, people clap appreciatively showing that they seem to applaud the president in general.

      While he speaks, there is no sign of confusion, or nervousness in his speech, posture or facial expressions. His presence is exuding an aroma of self-confidence, candidness, openness, hopeful attitude and leadership.

      He is not jittery neither is he fidgeting with anything. He did not clear his throat his voice was clearing, unbroken. There is no aggression in his approach.

      Oculesics of the Speech

      This is the part which focuses on eye contact and eye movement. This is important because maintaining an eye contact with the audience during speech means multiple things ‘Sorensen, T. 2011’. These include:

      • Regulating of interaction
      • Signals thinking
      • Can signal intimidation or submission.

      Then there is the Eye Movement which is indicative of assertiveness or evasiveness.

      In this speech, JFK has kept an eye contact but mostly he is looking into the papers from which he is reading the speech. This could have been improved upon in addition to longer pauses. This could have been used for more emphasis.

      Proxemics of Speech

      This is when focus is given to the use of space and distance while delivering a speech. It covers matters like:

      • Territoriality: Are you sitting in the same spot each week?
      • Space invasion = intimidation.
      • Space concession = accommodation
      • Personal space culturally specific.

      JFK speech was not very expressive of this phenomenon as he was only standing at a rostrum. This did not give him much room to show territoriality or space invasion and other concepts. He is mostly standing at the same point hence not much can be concluded on the proxemics in his speech.

      The whole speech can be summed up to be hopeful and meaningful. The speech was powerful. John F Kennedy’s personality and his profile as an orator were highly influential and stirring. His speeches were very popular among the USA public. People would patiently and willingly hear out what he would say. He possessed a strong and commanding voice. Most importantly his hopeful speech and open style of delivery made him a favourite among people. He knew very well the points where he had to stall and the points where he had to continue the flow of speech.

      On the whole, the things that made John F Knnedy were the paralanguage, his structure of the speech, adding to his social status and popularity with the people at large.


      Address At Rice University in Houston on the Nation’s Space Effort on September 12, 1962 - History

      President John F. Kennedy visited Rice University campus on September 12, 1962, and delivered a speech in the stadium on the Nation's Space Effort. Kennedy cites scientific progress as evidence that exploration of space is inevitable and argues that the United States should lead the space effort in order to retain a position of leadership on earth. He stated that we explore space not because it is easy but because it is difficult, and that the U.S. should "do it right and do it first before this decade is out," inspiring and engaging the nation in the space race.

      Although Kennedy was assassinated the following year, on November 22, 1963, his dream of winning the space race was fulfilled on July 20, 1969, when NASA's Apollo XI mission successfully landed the first men on the moon. As astronaut Neil Armstrong stepped off the Lunar Module, he proclaimed "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." His fellow astronaut Edwin Aldrin Jr. also walked on the moon's surface and the two men gathered 47 pounds of lunar surface material for research purposes.

      Scope and Contents

      This record group consists of printed material and audio covering John F. Kennedy's visit and speech on the Nation's Space Effort at Rice University on September 12, 1962. Film of President Kennedy at Rice completely deteriorated and has been deaccessioned. See Related Materials below for alternative access to the video.

      Restrictions

      Access Restrictions

      This material is open for research.

      Conditions Governing Access

      Stored on-site at the Woodson Research Center.

      Use Restrictions

      Permission to publish from the John F. Kennedy Space Effort Speech at Rice University records must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.

      Index Terms

      Related Material

      Rice University offers a streaming video on-line of JFK's speech on Rice campus, 1962. It is available for viewing at http://webcast.rice.edu/webcast.php?action=details&event=371. This video was captured by Houston's KHOU-TV Channel 11. Anyone seeking a copy of this particular capture of the speech should contact KHOU-TV directly, as Rice does not have the rights to make it available beyond this streaming format.

      The John F. Kennedy Library and Museum also has a video copy of the speech and can provide copies. Contact the Library for assistance: http://www.jfklibrary.org/. A written transcript and downloadable audio file of the speech is also available on their website, at http://www.jfklibrary.org/j091262.htm.

      See also JFK Information file at Woodson Research Center for photographs of JFK on campus and other information.

      Administrative Information

      Preferred Citation

      John F. Kennedy Space Effort Speech at Rice University records, 1961-1962, Rice University Archives, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.


      John F. Kennedy’s “We go to the Moon” Speech – An Analysis

      On September 12th, 1962, President John F. Kennedy ascended a podium in front of a large crowd gathered at Rice University in Houston, Texas, and prepared to give a speech that would dramatically shape the direction of the United States’ efforts over the following decade. Indeed, his speech would mark the beginning of a bold new era for humanity an era of exploration and innovation in outer space. The context and circumstances of President Kennedy’s “we go to the moon speech,” delivered near the height of the Cold War and at the beginning of the “space race” between the United States and the Soviet Union, were enormously significant. The Soviet satellite “Sputnik” had been beeping overhead for 4 years, and only one year prior Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin had become the first human being in history to enter space. The United States was rapidly losing the race into space, and in turn a competition in technological supremacy and prestige, to its Cold War adversary. The American public was on the verge of panic over the implications of a “Red Moon.” President Kennedy needed to forge a new direction for the United States, one that would excite and energize the American public and reestablish American eminence in global affairs. And so, on that day in September, 1962, he did just that, powerfully declaring that the United States would “go to the Moon before the decade was out.” The lasting significance of his speech, and its resounding success as an example of skillful rhetoric and persuasion, was demonstrated when American astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first human to walk the Moon’s surface in 1969. This paper briefly analyzes Kennedy’s speech, highlighting its main points and the rhetorical tools he so successfully employed. In it, I endeavor to point out the elements which allow this speech to still resonate strongly over 60 years past its delivery.

      Kennedy’s speech can be broken into 4 main parts and points, each of which play a significant role in the overall construction of his message. He begins by addressing the various distinguished guests and members of the audience to whom he is making his speech. He continues by expressing his gratitude for the opportunity he has been given to speak, and touches upon the prominence of Rice University as a center of learning and knowledge. Such an introduction is merely a formality, yet it establishes a significant rapport between the audience and himself. By immediately establishing such a connection, Kennedy has made the audience more susceptible to agreeing with the content with will follow. His declaration of Rice University as “a college noted for knowledge” further establishes the underlying premise of his speech, that of a new era for exploration, learning, and discovery. Though Kennedy does not expressly delineate the main points or thesis of his speech in this introduction, he neverless braces the audience for what is to come. Indeed, for the purpose of this speech, such a choice was perhaps for the best it allows the build up to and ultimate culmination of his thesis to be much more exciting and unexpected, and therefore more profound.

      The first point Kennedy addresses in the body of his speech is the breakneck pace at which technology, knowledge, and discovery has evolved. He condenses 50,000 years of human history into an allegorical half-century, declaring that “10 years ago, under this standard, man emerged from his caves.” Only five years ago, he states, man learned to write, and less than two months ago, the steam engine was developed. Therefore, should American spacecraft successfully soon reach Venus and American astronauts land on the Moon, we will have “literally reached the stars before midnight tonight.” Such is an incredibly powerful analogy, one that undoubtedly excited the audience sitting before Kennedy. He demonstrated to them that they were living at a time of rapid development, rapid change, and rapid advancement. To think that humanity had only emerged from its cave “10 years ago,” and by “midnight tonight” would be reaching for the stars! Kennedy undoubtedly recognized that he was speaking to an audience of scientists, engineers, and students, who understood the profundity of such breakneck advancement. By opening the body of his speech with this point, Kennedy is preparing the audience for the bold ambitions he will soon declare. Change is happening and change is happening fast it is inevitable that man will reach for the stars. If it is to “happen by midnight tonight,” as Kennedy believed it will, then it would be the United States leading that effort.

      He seamlessly transitions this allegory into his second main point, which is that “the exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in it or not.” Space exploration is, he again reinforces, an inevitability. Yet he continues his point by stating that the United States has vowed never to see space filled with weapons of mass destruction, but with “instruments of knowledge and understanding.” Connecting this point with an earlier statement, that “no nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in the race for space,” politicizes and ideologically frames the American effort of space exploration. If the United States does not lead the adventure into space, it will, according to Kennedy, fail to see realized the ideals which we uphold as a nation. If “our hopes for peace and security” and “our obligations to ourselves as well as others” are to remain steadfast, we must “become the world’s leading space-faring nation.” We must again keep in consideration the context and circumstances of Kennedy’s speech, delivered at the height of the Cold War. The United States was locked in an intense struggle, not only of geopolitics but of ideology. American freedom and liberty was being threatened by the Soviet Union. Kennedy rightly recognized that no American living at the time could disagree with the premise that American liberty would be secured through supremacy over the Soviet Union. As such, his connection of the American efforts in space, and the need for American leadership in space, with the ideological struggle the United States was engaged in, strongly supports his coming points. If we must land on the Moon in order to preserve a peaceful and free world, then landing on the Moon is an absolutely necessity. Such an ideological framing, especially in the Cold War context, circumvented and delegitimized any criticisms against American space exploration.

      Kennedy’s next point, however, addresses some of those potential criticisms and concerns, and culminates in his ultimate thesis. Space exploration is hard and costly. The hazards of space “are hostile to us all.” It will be an ultimate test of American skill, expertise, and talent. In face of all this, perhaps the challenge is too insurmountable, too dangerous to pursue. Yet, Kennedy rhetorically asks the audience, “why do we climb the highest mountain? Why fly the Atlantic?” Injecting some humor into the speech, which resonated with his particular audience, “why does Rice play Texas?” It is not because it is easy, it is not because it quickly achievable, but rather because it is challenging. “We go the the moon in this decade,” says Kennedy “not because it is easy, but because it is hard… because the goal organizes and measures the best of American energy and skill.” With this, Kennedy has established that the United States will pursue a landing on the Moon. Yet this is not just a claim, this is a challenge. Kennedy is challenging his audience and the American public to rise to the occasion, to demonstrate the best of their skills, and to reinforce American leadership as an innovative power. The American spirit, the premise of what makes us American, is our ability to boldly accept challenges and rise to conquer them. Kennedy is thus framing this challenge around the American character if we as a nation cannot achieve what we are known for achieving, then has become of us? Again, in the Cold War context, such a challenge was strongly appealing. Failure to reach the Moon would not just be a failure in technological or scientific terms, it would be a failure on the part of the American people, American spirit, and the premise of the United States of America. Such a challenge, indeed, still resonates to this very day.

      Having gone through a buildup which demonstrated to his audience the political, scientific, and ideological importance of space exploration and reaching his thesis on the necessity of a moon landing, Kennedy finally addresses his last point. He spends the latter part of his speech discussing the steps the United States and his administration have already taken to achieve that ultimate goal. He points out the facilities that have opened to support an effort in space exploration, the Saturn rockets which are currently being developed (and, coincidently, which would eventually take American astronauts to the moon), the satellites which America has already put into orbit, and the plethora of high-paying and high-skill jobs which the space industry has already created. Kennedy, it seems, goes through the effort to describe all this for two main reasons. The first is to win further support for his ambitious goal what validity would a landing on the moon before the decade is out have if nothing had already been taken to support such a goal? By demonstrating to the public that steps are already being taken, they are more likely to support the continuation of such an effort. The second main purpose of this effort is revealed in the statements he continues with, that the exploration of space is going to be a costly and dangerous effort. He states that the American budget for space is going to increase dramatically, and, as such, the average American is going to need to pay more and more for space exploration efforts. As we are quite familiar with in our contemporary political environment, telling people that they will be giving more to the state through taxes, especially for something that does not directly and tangibly impact their daily lives, is an unpopular action. Thus, Kennedy needed to demonstrate to the public where that money was going to, and show that, it was supporting the creation of high-skill jobs and space technology capable of supporting security and weather monitoring activity on Earth. As such, we see Kennedy being the archetypical politician in the part of his speech he tells the American public that they will need to pay more in taxes, but that paying those taxes will ultimately be in their interest.

      Having completed the body of his speech, Kennedy thus begins his concluding remarks. He again says that he thinks that the moon landings must be done, and that they will be “done while some of you are still here at school… during the term of office of some of the people who sit here on this platform.” Again, Kennedy is tangibly connecting his goal to the lives and experiences of the people listening to the speech, thereby making that goal resonate more strongly with them. Indeed, he continues by saying that he delighted that the university is “playing a part” in that goal, further connecting his audience to the topic of his speech. He finally concludes by recalling the statement of British explorer George Mallory, who climbed Mount Everest. When asked why he wanted to climb it, he said, “because it is there.” Kennedy does not directly address the point, but by saying this, he is alluding back to a beginning premise of speech, that exploration and conquering the challenging is part of the human spirit. And, as such, conquering the challenge of landing on the moon is part of the American spirit. “Space is there, he says, and we’re going to climb it… new hopes for knowledge and peace are there… the greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked.” Such is how Kennedy ends his speech, and a compelling conclusion it is. It is a concise summation of his various points and premises, fit into a sentence which draws on the audience’s natural compulsion for adventure. Space is there and is to be conquered, the United States will do so to preserve peace and seek knowledge, and it will be the greatest adventure in which man, let alone the United States, has ever engaged.

      Such is an outline of the content and structure of Kennedy’s speech. He intricately wove a narrative, touching first upon the human tendency for exploration and the rapid speed at which it was developing, then addressing the importance of outer space to humanity’s future, and finally laying out what the United States must do and is doing to achieve that goal. His points are soundly supported with not only ideological and political framing throughout, but with the basic human tendencies for discovery and knowledge. Recognizing his immediate audience to be scientists, professors, and students, yet acknowledging that he is addressing the American public at large, he combines both technical language and specific scientific detail with broad, rhetorically-flourished, yet easily comprehensible statements. The overall tone is set to excite the scientists for the scientific implications of space exploration, excite the American public for the great adventure that lay ahead, and excite the politicians who must legislate for space exploration by the geopolitical and ideological implications of such an endeavor. As an analyst of this speech, I perhaps run the risk of giving Kennedy too much credit or praise him in too lofty of terms, for I am an avid enthusiast of space exploration. Yet, ultimately, the persuasive nature of his content is clear the United States, before the decade was out, indeed did land a man on the moon. To this day, Kennedy’s speech is pointed to as the beginning of that great effort. Clearly then, in terms of content, the speech was a resounding success.

      Yet a speech is not only about content if this was, it need only have been published as an op-ed or as an article. Rather, a speech is also significant in its delivery, the manner in which it is presented. What could otherwise be an incredibly moving or persuasive speech might fall completely short if it is presented in a sub-par or non-persuasive manner. Yet, again, Kennedy succeeds soundly in his presentation. Known already as a persuasive and eloquent speaker, Kennedy utilizes fully the public speaking skills he has throughout the extent of his speech. He speaks with a real passion, as if he himself recognized and truly believed in the significance of the endeavor he was laying out to the American public. Indeed, perhaps this is the most significant part of his delivery, and in turn of the entire speech. To many alive in 1962, the notion of landing a man on the Moon was absurd. Indeed, the United States, at the point of his speech, had only been sending men into orbit for less than 5 years. To dispel the absurdity of the goal, to make it believable, to make it seem remotely possible to the average American, Kennedy needed to speak with exuberance and passion. He needed to energize the American public. Watching the speech and listening to his delivery, that passion and energy is clearly expressed.

      There are other points where his delivery succeeds. Between points, he naturally pauses and breaks, so as to allow the significance of his words to be digested and considered by the audience. His voice rises during during the most significant and compelling parts of the speech, most notably during his delivery of “we choose to go to the moon.” He is making bold claims and bold goals, and he is supporting them by a bold, clear, and authoritative delivery. He allows the audience time to laugh at his few humorous quips, and indeed pauses to laugh himself. Doing so conveys a sense of humility and humanity, personifying the character of president which otherwise might seem distant to the average American listening to him. By humanizing himself in this way, he is, again, making a real connection to his listener. He is making himself easier to be believed, and his message therefore more resonant and goals more achievable.

      Kennedy makes acceptable use of the space that has been provided for him, remaining at his podium yet shifting in position and stance. Though much of the speech is spent looking at the paper, he does look up and address the audience eye-to-eye during the most significant parts, and during the points which he wants to hit home. He employs his hands and arms to a minimal degree, yet nonetheless uses them in a similar manner, to hit home significant points. Indeed, he employment of his body’s stance and his hands’ movements seem to be in cadence with the rise, fall, and flow of his voice. By doing this, he almost makes the connection between body and voice, between content and presence, seem seamless. All this adds to the authoritative presence he has at the podium, a presence that is needed to make claims and goals as bold as those about which he spoke.

      For me, Kennedy’s “we go to the moon” speech is perhaps one of the most moving, most profound, and most successful of the speeches I have ever witnessed. Thus is why I chose it for my analysis. On that September day in 1962, Kennedy stood before an audience afraid of Soviet domination in space and declared goals which, for many, may have seemed outlandish or impossible. The fact that those goals were then fully achieved, in the span of time that Kennedy wanted them to be achieved, goes to show how powerful, how resonant, and how persuasive he must’ve truly been for the audience sitting before that podium. I am hard pressed to think of any other examples of rhetoric, be them spoken or written, by them persuasive or informative, which managed to achieve the goals intended for them in a manner similar to this speech. It is a classic example of powerful persuasion, of successful public speaking, and is clearly demonstrative of the remarkable things that a good, strong, well-constructed, and well-delivered speech is capable of.


      50 years ago, Kennedy reached for stars in historic Rice address

      1 of 27 In 1962, President John F. Kennedy urged the nation to travel to the moon. His challenge came true on July 20, 1969, when astronauts landed and Neil Armstrong walked on its surface the next day. Ted Rozumalski Show More Show Less

      Kennedy's Space Tour, as the press called it in 1962, included a stop at NASA's Spacecraft Research Division, where he stood before the Lunar Excursion Module.

      4 of 27 At Rice Stadium in 1962, President Kennedy announced that America would go to the moon. "We meet at a college known for its knowlege," he said, "at a city known for its progress, in a state known for its strength." Show More Show Less

      5 of 27 PHOTO FILED: JOHN F. KENNEDY-HOUSTON VISIT-1962. 09/12/1962 - ALBERT THOMAS (WITH HAND TO FACE) SITTING NEXT TO PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY AT RICE UNIVERSITY SEPTEMBER 1962. HOUCHRON CAPTION (04/12/1963): Albert Thomas and friend, at Rice University, September, 1962. HOUCHRON CAPTION (07/20/2003): President Kennedy sits next to U.S. Rep. Albert Thomas, right, during a visit to Rice University in 1962. BEYOND COLUMBIA: In search of a mission. Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

      7 of 27 PHOTO FILED: JOHN F. KENNEDY--HOUSTON VISIT-1962. 09/12/1962 - President John F. Kennedy addresses a crowd at Rice Stadium in Houston. Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

      8 of 27 09/12/1962 - President John F. Kennedy in Houston to huddle with NASA's leadership and address a national audience from Rice Stadium to bolster his fledgling Cold War initiative to land American astronauts on the moon. Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

      10 of 27 09/11/1962 - President John F. Kennedy arrives at International Airport in Houston to huddle with NASA's leadership and address a national audience from Rice to bolster his initiative to land American astronauts on the moon. President Kennedy is greeted at the airport by Mayor Lewis Cutrer while U.S. Rep. Albert Thomas, Vice President Lyndon Johnson and other dignitaries listen. Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

      11 of 27 09/11/1962 - President John F. Kennedy arrives at International Airport in Houston to huddle with NASA's leadership and address a national audience from Rice to bolster his initiative to land American astronauts on the moon. President Kennedy is greeted at the airport by local dignitaries. Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

      09/11/1962 - President John F. Kennedy arrives at International Airport in Houston to huddle with NASA's leadership and address a national audience from Rice to bolster his initiative to land American astronauts on the moon.

      14 of 27 09/11/1962 - President John F. Kennedy arrives at International Airport in Houston to huddle with NASA's leadership and address a national audience from Rice to bolster his initiative to land American astronauts on the moon. President Kennedy is greeted at the airport by Mayor Lewis Cutrer. Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

      16 of 27 09/11/1962 - President John F. Kennedy arrives at International Airport in Houston to huddle with NASA's leadership and address a national audience from Rice to bolster his initiative to land American astronauts on the moon. President Kennedy speaks at the airport while Vice President Lyndon Johnson and other dignitaries listen. Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

      17 of 27 09/11/1962 - President John F. Kennedy arrives at International Airport in Houston to huddle with NASA's leadership and address a national audience from Rice to bolster his initiative to land American astronauts on the moon. President Kennedy waves to the crowd at the airport. Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

      19 of 27 09/11/1962 - President John F. Kennedy arrives at International Airport in Houston to huddle with NASA's leadership and address a national audience from Rice to bolster his initiative to land American astronauts on the moon. President Kennedy is greeted at the airport by local dignitaries. Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

      20 of 27 09/11/1962 - President John F. Kennedy arrives at International Airport in Houston to huddle with NASA's leadership and address a national audience from Rice to bolster his initiative to land American astronauts on the moon. President Kennedy speaks at the airport. L-R U.S. Rep. Albert Thomas, Vice President Lyndon Johnson, unidentified man, President Kennedy, Houston Mayor Lewis Cutrer. Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

      22 of 27 09/11/1962 - President John F. Kennedy arrives in Houston to huddle with NASA's leadership and address a national audience from Rice to bolster his initiative to land American astronauts on the moon. President Kennedy is greeted at the airport by Mayor Lewis Cutrer while U.S. Rep. Albert Thomas, Vice President Lyndon Johnson and other dignitaries listen. Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

      23 of 27 09/11/1962 - President John F. Kennedy arrives at International Airport in Houston to huddle with NASA's leadership and address a national audience from Rice to bolster his initiative to land American astronauts on the moon. U.S. Rep. Albert Thomas follows President Kennedy down the stairs.. Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

      25 of 27 Rice University Naval ROTC midshipmen Paul Hassell , left, Brad Sampsell, Benjamin Cusak, and Matthew Richard, right, take onto field a presentation of a moon rock and an award that was given to Rice during halftime of Rice-Navy game Saturday, Oct. 10, 2009, in Houston. Rice President David Leebron accepted the moon rock and award from Johnson Space Center director Mike Coats on behalf of President John F. Kennedy's family during halftime Saturday, cementing a relationship that began on Sept. 12, 1962, when Kennedy kicked off the race to the moon in a speech at Rice. NASA honored Kennedy's vision with an Ambassador of Exploration Award last summer, 40 years after the Apollo 11 landing on the moon, and the Kennedy family asked that Rice display the award. Both will go on display at Fondren Library on the Rice campus. ( Melissa Phillip / Chronicle ) Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

      26 of 27 Congressman Pete Olson, left, Rice president David Leebron, and Johnson Space Center director Mike Coats, right, with moon rock encased in an award ready during presentation onto field for ceremony to give the award to Rice during halftime of Rice-Navy game Saturday, Oct. 10, 2009, in Houston. Rice President David Leebron accepted the moon rock and award from Johnson Space Center director Mike Coats on behalf of President John F. Kennedy's family during halftime Saturday, cementing a relationship that began on Sept. 12, 1962, when Kennedy kicked off the race to the moon in a speech at Rice. NASA honored Kennedy's vision with an Ambassador of Exploration Award last summer, 40 years after the Apollo 11 landing on the moon, and the Kennedy family asked that Rice display the award. Both will go on display at Fondren Library on the Rice campus. ( Melissa Phillip / Chronicle ) Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

      What a glorious day it was when President John F. Kennedy took the podium at Rice University at 10 a.m. on Sept. 12, 1962, 50 years ago this week, to thunderous applause from over 40,000 enthusiastic spectators. Although the humidity was doing its stuffy best to tamp down the fun, attendees madly fanning themselves while wiping perspiration from their brows with handkerchiefs, hopes were high that Kennedy would inspire a new generation to beat the Soviet Union to the moon. The success of Mercury astronauts - Alan Shepard on Freedom 7, Gus Grissom on Liberty Bell 7, John Glenn on Friendship 7, and Scott Carpenter on Atlas 7 - had fueled a public mania for all things NASA. Days before the Rice visit, Kennedy had visited the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., and the NASA Launch Operations Center on Merritt Island in Florida. The press had called it - including his all-important stopover in Houston - Kennedy's Space Tour. He came to Houston to shift the space race from low to high gear. "NASA had great hopes that the Rice speech would generate a frenzied public demand to go to the moon," former director of the Johnson Space Center George Abbey said. "The stakes - congressional appropriation of funds - were high."

      For NASA, Kennedy was the right president at the right time. Yet his decision to prioritize space exploration was surprising. As a U.S. senator from Massachusetts from 1953 to 1960, Kennedy seldom mentioned space. It wasn't his bailiwick. His primary national security concern was the missile gap with the Soviets. But when on April 12, 1961, the Kremlin announced that cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin had successfully orbited Earth, Kennedy - fueled with hubristic determination - grew defiant. He instructed his advisers to develop a space program that would guarantee "dramatic results" that could be rubbed in Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev's face.

      A few weeks later, NASA handed Kennedy a doable initiative that would shout U.S. space superiority so loudly that Lenin's bones would rattle from the grave: a lunar landing program. The successful orbits of U.S. astronaut John Glenn on Friendship 7 fueled Kennedy's ambition. Kennedy, an avatar of American exceptionalism, latched with zeal onto the mammoth idea of landing on the moon. His historic visit to Rice University would be the sell-job to the American public. "I think (Kennedy) became convinced that space was the symbol of the 20th century," White House science adviser Jerome Wiesner posited. "It was a decision he made cold-bloodedly. He thought it was good for the country."

      Houston was the great beneficiary of Kennedy's decision to prioritize NASA's Project Apollo, which ultimately cost U.S. taxpayers $25.4 billion (about $150 billion today). How Houston won the NASA bid lays squarely on the shoulders of Rep. Albert Thomas. Anxious to bring pork dollars to Houston, he mercilessly lobbied the Kennedy administration for the Manned Spacecraft Center to come to his 8th Congressional District. Even before Kennedy's May 25, 1961, address to Congress where he famously said "I believe we should go to the moon," Thomas had invited key NASA officials to Houston to cut a deal. George Brown, of Houston's Brown & Root construction company, also made an irresistible pitch for the new manned spacecraft center. Cognizant that NASA coming to Houston would be a local jobs engine, Brown, chairman of the Rice Board of Trustees, offered NASA 1,000 acres of wildlife-rich pasture at Clear Lake that Humble Oil had recently donated to the university. NASA's key location requirement was that the space center had to have a "mild climate permitting year-round, ice-free water transportation and permitting out-of-door work for most of the year." Houston, a gateway to the Gulf of Mexico, easily fit this criterion.

      Brown, a huge Houston booster, had been a longtime financial supporter of Vice President Lyndon Johnson. That gave the Houstonian an inside track with the Kennedy administration. The president owed Texas something, it seemed, for delivering 24 electoral votes to him in his razor-close 1960 White House race against Republican nominee Richard Nixon. Without Texas, it's safe to say, JFK wouldn't have been president. Rep. Thomas, a master Capitol Hill operator, saw how to close the deal. Throughout 1962, Thomas refused to support a few Kennedy-backed bills pending before Congress. A quid pro quo was in the offing. In full Machiavelli mode, Kennedy casually told the congressman that NASA head James Webb was "thinking of building a manned space center, perhaps - only perhaps - in Houston." But Kennedy it seemed first needed support for his pending bills. With a calculated change of heart, Rep. Thomas supported Kennedy's bills, and in return Kennedy rewarded Houston with the Manned Spacecraft Center (renamed the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center after LBJ died in 1973).

      The stage was set for Kennedy to come to Rice University, which had donated the Clear Lake land to NASA, to deliver a motivational speech about space exploration. The most frequently quoted line from the address -"We choose to go to the moon!" - caused the stadium to erupt in raucous cheers, as if the Owls had scored a touchdown. A copy of the speech is now on display at the Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston. The document is particularly interesting because of Kennedy's handwritten additions, including his famous rationale for moon exploration: "Why does Rice play Texas?"

      Kennedy's oration was front-page news around the country. Pundits saw it as another Ted Sorenson-penned speech drenched in terrestrial aspiration. But for all of its soaring rhetoric, the Rice address was grounded in pragmatism. Kennedy made the case to taxpayers that NASA needed a $5.4 billion budget. Kennedy also did a tremendous job of connecting the moonshot to Houston in ways that thrilled locals. "We meet at a college noted for knowledge, in a city noted for progress, in a state noted for strength," he said. "And we stand in awe of all three." What Kennedy did so brilliantly that day was frame the moonshot as being instrumental for U.S. security reasons.

      The Rice speech has lived on in history because in it Kennedy threw down the gauntlet that America would land on the moon before the decade's end. And he posed an exciting challenge to the nation. "Many years ago, the great British explorer George Mallory, who was to die on Mount Everest, was asked why did he want to climb it," Kennedy concluded. "He said, 'Because it is there.' Well, space is there, and we're going to climb it, and the moon and 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."

      Following the Rice speech, Kennedy toured the new Manned Spacecraft Center site in Houston. Within months, the address grew in stature. Clips from it have been played so many times on TV that many people are tricked into thinking they remembered the speech's importance at the time it was given. In 2001, I was lucky enough to interview Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong about the impact Kennedy's words had on him personally. He offered a cautionary quote. "I certainly remember it," he said of the Rice speech, "but it's a bit hazy because I've heard recordings of it so many times since, that you're not certain whether you're remembering or you're remembering what you're remembering. &hellip And, of course, it's been colored by the fact I read so many stories of how that process actually occurred and what led to his conclusion to do that."

      Historian Daniel J. Boorstin has correctly written that Kennedy championed "public discovery" via NASA. Kennedy's Rice address represents the oratorical high mark of this outreach. On the very day that Kennedy was killed in November 1963, he was preparing to deliver a major address at Dallas Trade Mart about the need to fund lunar exploration.

      The magnitude of the Rice speech only hit home on July 24, 1969, when the Apollo 11 command module Columbia successfully splashed into the Pacific, making Kennedy a can-do visionary. At Apollo Mission Control in Houston, on the big electronic board, just after the astronauts were retrieved from sea, was posted Kennedy's goal for the world to read. It was mission accomplished. As a last tribute, Cape Canaveral was renamed, at Jackie Kennedy's request, the John F. Kennedy Space Center.

      Douglas Brinkley is a professor of history at Rice University and author of "Cronkite."


      We choose to go to the moon

      Delivered at Rice University in Houston, Texas on 12 September 1962.

      President Pitzer, Mr. Vice President, Governor, Congressman Thomas, Senator Wiley, and Congressman Miller, Mr. Webb, Mr. Bell, scientists, distinguished guests, and ladies and gentlemen:

      I appreciate your president having made me an honorary visiting professor, and I will assure you that my first lecture will be very brief.

      I am delighted to be here and I'm particularly delighted to be here on this occasion.

      We meet at a college noted for knowledge, in a city noted for progress, in a state noted for strength, and we stand in need of all three, for we meet in an hour of change and challenge, in a decade of hope and fear, in an age of both knowledge and ignorance. The greater our knowledge increases, the greater our ignorance unfolds.

      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 Nation's own scientific manpower is doubling every 12 years in a rate of growth more than three times that of our population as a whole, 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, but condense, if you will, the 50 thousand years of man's recorded history in a time span of but a half-century. Stated in these terms, we know very little about the first 40 years, except at the end of them advanced man had learned to use the skins of animals to cover them. Then about 10 years ago, under this standard, man emerged from his caves to construct other kinds of shelter. Only five years ago man learned to write and use a cart with wheels. Christianity began less than two years ago. The printing press came this year, and then less than two months ago, during this whole 50-year span of human history, the steam engine provided a new source of power. Newton explored the meaning of gravity. Last month electric lights and telephones and automobiles and airplanes became available. Only last week did we develop penicillin and television and nuclear power, and now if America's new spacecraft succeeds in reaching Venus, we will have literally reached the stars before midnight tonight.

      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.

      If this capsule history of our progress teaches us anything, it is that man, in his quest for knowledge and progress, is determined and cannot be deterred. 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 this race for space.

      Those who came before us made certain that this country rode the first waves of the industrial revolution, the first waves of modern invention, and the first wave of nuclear power, and 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, and we have vowed that we shall not see it governed by a hostile flag of conquest, but by a banner of freedom and peace. We have vowed that we shall not see space filled with weapons of mass destruction, but with instruments of knowledge and understanding.

      Yet the vows of this Nation can only be fulfilled if we in this Nation are first, and, therefore, we intend to be first. In short, our leadership in science and industry, our hopes for peace and security, our obligations to ourselves as well as others, all require us to make this effort, to solve these mysteries, to solve them for the good of all men, and to become the world's leading space-faring nation.

      We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people. For space science, like nuclear science and all technology, has no conscience of its own. Whether it will become a force for good or ill depends on man, and only if the United States occupies a position of pre-eminence can we help decide whether this new ocean will be a sea of peace or a new terrifying theater of war. I do not say that we should or will go unprotected against the hostile misuse of space any more than we go unprotected against the hostile use of land or sea, but I do say that space can be explored and mastered without feeding the fires of war, without repeating the mistakes that man has made in extending his writ around this globe of ours.

      There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation may never come again. 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. We choose to go to the moon. (interrupted by applause) 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 willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

      It is for these reasons that I regard the decision last year to shift our efforts in space from low to high gear as among the most important decisions that will be made during my incumbency in the office of the Presidency.

      In the last 24 hours we have seen facilities now being created for the greatest and most complex exploration in man's history. We have felt the ground shake and the air shattered by the testing of a Saturn C-1 booster rocket, many times as powerful as the Atlas which launched John Glenn, generating power equivalent to 10 thousand automobiles with their accelerators on the floor. We have seen the site where five F-1 rocket engines, each one as powerful as all eight engines of the Saturn combined, will be clustered together to make the advanced Saturn missile, assembled in a new building to be built at Cape Canaveral as tall as a 48 story structure, as wide as a city block, and as long as two lengths of this field.

      Within these last 19 months at least 45 satellites have circled the earth. Some 40 of them were made in the United States of America and they were far more sophisticated and supplied far more knowledge to the people of the world than those of the Soviet Union.

      The Mariner spacecraft. (interrupted by applause) the Mariner spacecraft now on its way to Venus is the most intricate instrument in the history of space science. The accuracy of that shot is comparable to firing a missile from Cape Canaveral and dropping it in this stadium between the 40-yard lines.

      Transit satellites are helping our ships at sea to steer a safer course. Tiros satellites have given us unprecedented warnings of hurricanes and storms, and will do the same for forest fires and icebergs.

      We have had our failures, but so have others, even if they do not admit them. And they may be less public.

      To be sure. (interrupted by applause) to be sure, we are behind, and will be behind for some time in manned flight. But we do not intend to stay behind, and in this decade, we shall make up and move ahead.

      The growth of our science and education will be enriched by new knowledge of our universe and environment, by new techniques of learning and mapping and observation, by new tools and computers for industry, medicine, the home as well as the school. Technical institutions, such as Rice, will reap the harvest of these gains.

      And finally, the space effort itself, while still in its infancy, has already created a great number of new companies, and tens of thousands of new jobs. Space and related industries are generating new demands in investment and skilled personnel, and this city and this state, and this region, will share greatly in this growth. What was once the furthest outpost on the old frontier of the West will be the furthest outpost on the new frontier of science and space. Houston, (interrupted by applause) your city of Houston, with its Manned Spacecraft Center, will become the heart of a large scientific and engineering community. During the next 5 years the National Aeronautics and Space Administration expects to double the number of scientists and engineers in this area, to increase its outlays for salaries and expenses to 60 million dollars a year to invest some 200 million dollars in plant and laboratory facilities and to direct or contract for new space efforts over 1 billion dollars from this center in this city.

      To be sure, all this costs us all a good deal of money. This year's space budget is three times what it was in January 1961, and it is greater than the space budget of the previous eight years combined. That budget now stands at 5 billion 400 million dollars a year—a staggering sum, though somewhat less than we pay for cigarettes and cigars every year. Space expenditures will soon rise some more, from 40 cents per person per week to more than 50 cents a week for every man, woman and child in the United States, for we have given this program a high national priority—even though I realize that this is in some measure an act of faith and vision, for we do not now know what benefits await us. But if I were to say, my fellow citizens, that we shall send to the moon, 240 thousand 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 thousand 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.

      I'm the one who is doing all the work, so we just want you to stay cool for a minute.

      However, I think we're going to do it, and I think that we must pay what needs to be paid. I don't think we ought to waste any money, but I think we ought to do the job. And this will be done in the decade of the Sixties. It may be done while some of you are still here at school at this college and university. It will be done during the terms of office of some of the people who sit here on this platform. But it will be done. And it will be done before the end of this decade.

      And I am delighted that this university is playing a part in putting a man on the moon as part of a great national effort of the United States of America.

      Many years ago the great British explorer George Mallory, who was to die on Mount Everest, was asked why did he want 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.


      Kennedy's Famous 'Moon' Speech Still Stirs

      On September 12, 1962, amid a fierce space race with the Soviet Union, U.S. President John F. Kennedy delivered a stirring speech to 40,000 sweaty spectators at the football stadium at Rice University in humid Houston, a speech that would come to be one of the defining moments of his abbreviated presidency.

      Fifty years later, that iconic speech -- in which Kennedy called for America to put a man on the moon by the end of that decade -- is being commemorated by the U.S. space agency NASA and by the crew of the International Space Station (ISS), which currently includes Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin and Ukrainian Yuri Malenchenko.

      Said Kennedy, in the most famous words from that Rice address:

      That daunting challenge came only seven months after John Glenn, aboard Friendship 7, became the first American to orbit the Earth, which in itself was almost a year behind the Soviet Union's earth-shaking achievement of putting the world's first man, Yuri Gagarin, into space.

      A man on the moon in seven years, even though no space walks had yet occurred, no dockings in space had yet been practiced, no lunar modules had yet been built.

      WATCH: Kennedy's "moon" speech at Rice University


      Kennedy acknowledged the work ahead:

      Without mentioning the Soviet Union by name, Kennedy -- spooked by that nation's stunning space advances -- made it plain that it was his intention to beat the Kremlin at its own game, to be first militarily and technologically.

      As correspondent Mike Wall notes on Space.com, Kennedy stressed that humanity's charge into space is inexorable, and that the world would be better off with the United States leading the way:

      On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin fulfilled Kennedy's vision by landing on the moon and, four days later, returning safely to Earth.

      As the late Neil Armstrong -- the first human to set foot on the moon -- recently noted in a rare interview with CPA Australia, the moon walk itself was gravy:

      To mark the anniversary, NASA TV plans to broadcast a high-quality version of Kennedy's speech at the same time he originally delivered it -- at 1515 GMT today. American Astronaut Suni Williams, who is onboard the orbiting ISS, will also speak about the significance of Kennedy's words.


      Contents

      Johnson Space Center has its origins in NASA's Space Task Group (STG). Starting on November 5, 1958, Langley Research Center engineers under Robert Gilruth directed Project Mercury and follow-on crewed space programs. The STG originally reported to the Goddard Space Flight Center organization, with a total staff of 45, including 37 engineers, and eight secretaries and human "computers" (women who ran calculations on mechanical adding machines). In 1959, the center added 32 Canadian engineers put out of work by the cancellation of the Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow project. [3] NASA's first administrator, T. Keith Glennan, realized that the growth of the US space program would cause the STG to outgrow the Langley and Goddard centers and require its own location. On January 1, 1961, he wrote a memo to his yet-unnamed successor (who turned out to be James E. Webb), recommending a new site be chosen. [4] Later that year, when President John F. Kennedy set the goal to put a person on the Moon by the end of the decade, it became clear Gilruth would need a larger organization to lead the Apollo Program, with new test facilities and research laboratories. [5]

      Site selection Edit

      In 1961, Congress held hearings and passed a $1.7 billion 1962 NASA appropriations bill which included $60 million for the new crewed spaceflight laboratory. [6] A set of requirements for the new site was drawn up and released to the Congress and general public. These included: access to water transport by large barges, a moderate climate, availability of all-weather commercial jet service, a well-established industrial complex with supporting technical facilities and labor, close proximity to a culturally attractive community in the vicinity of an institution of higher education, a strong electric utility and water supply, at least 1,000 acres (400 ha) of land, and certain specified cost parameters. [6] In August 1961, Webb asked Associate Director of the Ames Research Center John F. Parsons to head a site-selection team, which included Philip Miller, Wesley Hjornevik, and I. Edward Campagna, the construction engineer for the STG. [7] The team initially came up with a list of 22 cities based on the climate and water criteria, then cut this to a short list of nine with nearby federal facilities:

      • Jacksonville, Florida (Green Cove SpringsNaval Air Station)
      • Tampa, Florida (MacDill Air Force Base)
      • Shreveport, Louisiana (Barksdale Air Force Base)
      • Houston, Texas (San Jacinto Ordnance Depot)
      • Victoria, Texas (FAA Airport former Foster Air Force Base)
      • Corpus Christi, Texas (Naval Air Station Corpus Christi)
      • San Diego, California (Camp Elliott)
      • San Francisco, California (Benicia Arsenal) [8]

      Another 14 sites were then added, including two additional Houston sites chosen because of proximity to the University of Houston and Rice University. [5] The team visited all 23 sites between August 21 and September 7, 1961. During these visits, Massachusetts Governor John A. Volpe and Senator Margaret Chase Smith headed a delegation which exerted particularly strong political pressure, prompting a personal inquiry to Webb from President Kennedy. Senators and Congressmen from sites in Missouri and California similarly lobbied the selection team. Proponents of sites in Boston, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Norfolk, Virginia, [9] went so far as to make separate presentations to Webb and the headquarters staff, so Webb added these additional sites to the final review. [8]

      Following its tour, the team identified MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa as its first choice, based on the fact the Air Force was planning to close down its Strategic Air Command operations there. The Houston Rice University site was second, and the Benicia Ordnance Depot in San Francisco was third. Before a decision could be made, however, the Air Force decided not to close MacDill, omitting it from consideration and moving the Rice University site to first place. Webb informed President Kennedy on September 14 of the decision made by him and deputy administrator Hugh Dryden in two separate memoranda, one reviewing the criteria and procedures, and the other stating: "Our decision is that this laboratory should be located in Houston, Texas, in close association with Rice University and the other educational institutions there and in that region." The Executive Office and NASA made advance notifications of the award, and the public announcement of the location followed on September 19, 1961. [10] According to Texas A&M University historian Henry C. Dethloff, "Although the Houston site neatly fit the criteria required for the new center, Texas undoubtedly exerted an enormous political influence on such a decision. Lyndon B. Johnson was Vice President and head of the Space Council, Albert Thomas headed the House Appropriations Committee, Bob Casey and Olin E. Teague were members of the House Committee on Science and Astronautics, and Teague headed the Subcommittee on Manned Space Flight. Finally, Sam Rayburn was Speaker of the House of Representatives." [11]

      The land for the new facility was 1,000 acres (400 hectares) donated to Rice by the Humble Oil company, situated in an undeveloped area 25 miles (40 km) southeast of Houston adjacent to Clear Lake near Galveston Bay. [12] [13] [14] At the time, the land was used to graze cattle. [10] Immediately after Webb's announcement, Gilruth and his staff began planning the move from Langley to Houston, using what would grow to 295,996 square feet (27,498.9 m 2 ) of leased office and laboratory space in 11 scattered sites. [7] On November 1, the conversion of the Task Group to MSC became official. [1]

      Construction and early operations Edit

      Tracts of land in the vicinity of the Manned Spacecraft Center were either owned or being under exclusive control of Joseph L. Smith & Associates, Inc. [2] NASA purchased an additional 600 acres (240 hectares) so the property would face a highway, and the total included another 20 acres (8.1 hectares) reserve drilling site. [15] Construction of the center, designed by Charles Luckman, began in April 1962, and Gilruth's new organization was formed and moved to the temporary locations by September. [16] That month, Kennedy gave a speech at Rice University on the US space program. The speech is famous for highlighting the Apollo program, but Kennedy also made reference to the new Center:

      What was once the furthest outpost on the old frontier of the West will be the furthest outpost on the new frontier of science and space. Houston, . with its Manned Spacecraft Center, will become the heart of a large scientific and engineering community. During the next 5 years the National Aeronautics and Space Administration expects to double the number of scientists and engineers in this area, to increase its outlays for salaries and expenses to $60 million a year to invest some $200 million in plant and laboratory facilities and to direct or contract for new space efforts over $1 billion from this Center in this City.

      The 1,620-acre (6.6 km 2 ) facility was officially opened for business in September 1963. [18] [19]

      Mission Control Center Edit

      In 1961, as plans for Project Gemini began, it became increasingly clear that the Mercury Control Center located at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station launch center would become inadequate to control missions with maneuverable spacecraft such as Gemini and Apollo. Christopher Kraft and three other flight controllers began studying what was needed for an improved control center, and directed a study contract awarded to Philco's Western Development Laboratory. Philco bid on and won the contract to build the electronic equipment for the new Mission Control Center, which would be located in Building 30 of MSC rather than Canaveral or the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. Construction began in 1963. [20]

      The new center had two Mission Operations Control Rooms, allowing training and preparation for a later mission to be carried out while a live mission is in progress. It was brought online for testing purposes during the uncrewed Gemini 2 flight in January 1965 [21] and the first crewed Gemini flight, Gemini 3 in March 1965, though the Mercury Control Center still retained primary responsibility for control of these flights. It became fully operational for the flight of Gemini 4 the following June, and has been the primary flight control center for all subsequent US crewed space missions from Project Gemini forward. [13] [14]

      NASA named the center the Christopher C. Kraft Jr. Mission Control Center on April 14, 2011. [22]

      Apollo program Edit

      In addition to housing NASA's astronaut operations, JSC is also the site of the former Lunar Receiving Laboratory, where the first astronauts returning from the Moon were quarantined, and where the majority of lunar samples are stored. The center's Landing and Recovery Division operated MV Retriever in the Gulf of Mexico for Gemini and Apollo astronauts to practice water egress after splashdown. [ citation needed ]

      On February 19, 1973, after Johnson's death, President Richard Nixon signed into law a Senate resolution renaming the Manned Spacecraft Center in honor of Johnson, who as Senate Majority Leader had sponsored the 1958 legislation which created NASA. [23] [24] Dedication ceremonies under the new name were held on August 27 of that year. [ citation needed ]

      One of the artifacts displayed at Johnson Space Center is the Saturn V rocket. It is whole, except for the ring between the S-IC and S-II stages, and the fairing between the S-II and S-IVB stages, and made of actual surplus flight-ready articles. It also has real (though incomplete) Apollo command and service modules, intended to fly in the canceled Apollo 19 mission. [ citation needed ]

      In June 2019, the restored Apollo Mission Control Center was opened for tourists. [25]

      Space Shuttle program Edit

      In the wake of the January 28, 1986, Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan traveled to JSC on January 31 to speak at a memorial service honoring the astronauts. It was attended by 6,000 NASA employees and 4,000 guests, as well as by the families of the crew. During the ceremony, an Air Force band led the singing of "God Bless America" as NASA T-38 Talon supersonic jets flew directly over the scene in the traditional missing-man formation. All activities were broadcast live by the national television and radio networks. [ citation needed ]

      A similar memorial service was held at the Johnson Space Center on February 4, 2003, for the astronauts who perished in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster three days before, which was attended by President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush. Although that service was broadcast live by the national television and radio networks, it was geared mainly to NASA employees and the families of the astronauts. A second service for the nation was led by Vice-President Dick Cheney and his wife Lynne at Washington National Cathedral two days later. [26]

      On September 13, 2008, Hurricane Ike hit Galveston as a category 2 hurricane and caused minor damage to the Mission Control Center and other buildings at JSC. [27] The storm damaged the roofs of several hangars for the T-38 Talons at Ellington Field. [27]

      The Johnson Space Center is home to Christopher C. Kraft Jr. Mission Control Center (MCC-H), the NASA control center that coordinates and monitors all human spaceflight for the United States. MCC-H directed all Space Shuttle missions, and currently directs American activities aboard the International Space Station. The Apollo Mission Control Center, a National Historic Landmark, is in Building 30. From the moment a crewed spacecraft clears its launch tower until it lands back on Earth, it is in the hands of Mission Control. The MCC houses several Flight Control Rooms, from which flight controllers coordinate and monitor the spaceflights. The rooms have many computer resources to monitor, command, and communicate with spacecraft. When a mission is underway, the rooms are staffed around the clock, usually in three shifts. [ citation needed ]

      JSC handles most of the planning and training of the US astronaut corps and houses training facilities such as the Sonny Carter Training Facility and the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, a critical component in training astronauts for spacewalks. The Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory provides a controlled neutral buoyancy environment—a very large pool containing about 6.2 million US gallons (23,000 m 3 ) of water where astronauts train to practice extra-vehicular activity tasks while simulating zero-g conditions. [28] [29] The facility provides preflight training in becoming familiar with crew activities and with the dynamics of body motion under weightless conditions. [30]

      Building 31-N houses the Lunar Sample Laboratory Facility, which stores, analyzes, and processes most of the samples returned from the Moon during the Apollo program. [ citation needed ]

      The center is also responsible for direction of operations at White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico, which served as a backup Space Shuttle landing site and would have been the coordinating facility for the Constellation program, which was planned to replace the Shuttle program after 2010, but was canceled in 2009. [ citation needed ]

      The visitor center has been the adjacent Space Center Houston since 1994 JSC Building 2 previously housed the visitor center. [ citation needed ]

      The Johnson Space Center Heliport (FAA LID: 72TX) is located on the campus. [31]

      About 3,200 civil servants, including 110 astronauts, are employed at Johnson Space Center. The bulk of the workforce consists of over 11,000 contractors. As of October 2014, Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies took over United Space Alliance's primary contract. [32] As of May 2018, the center's 12th director is Mark S Geyer, [33] the first being Robert Gilruth. [ citation needed ]

      NASA's astronaut training is conducted at the Johnson Space Center. Astronaut candidates receive training on spacecraft systems and in basic sciences including mathematics, guidance and navigation, oceanography, orbital dynamics, astronomy, and physics. [30] Candidates are required to complete military water survival prior to beginning their flying instruction. Candidates are also required to become scuba-qualified for extravehicular training and are required to pass a swimming test. [34] [35] EVA training is conducted at the Sonny Carter Training Facility. Candidates are also trained to deal with emergencies associated with hyperbaric and hypobaric atmospheric pressures and are given exposure to the microgravity of space flight. [30] Candidates maintain their flying proficiency by flying 15 hours per month in NASA's fleet of T-38 jets based at nearby Ellington Field. [ citation needed ]

      Johnson Space Center leads NASA's human spaceflight-related scientific and medical research programs. Technologies developed for spaceflight are now in use in many areas of medicine, energy, transportation, agriculture, communications, and electronics. [36]

      The Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) office performs the physical science research at the center. ARES directs and manages all functions and activities of the ARES scientists who perform basic research in earth, planetary, and space sciences. ARES scientists and engineers provide support to the human and robotic spaceflight programs. The responsibilities of ARES also include interaction with the Office of Safety and Mission Assurance and the Human Space Flight Programs. [37]

      Johnson Space Center was granted a five-year, $120-million extension of its agreement with the National Space Biomedical Research Institute at Baylor College of Medicine to study the health risks related to long-duration space flight. The extension will allow a continuation of biomedical research in support of a long-term human presence in space started by the institute and NASA's Human Research Program through 2012. [38]

      The Prebreathe Reduction Program is a research study program at the JSC that is currently being developed to improve the safety and efficiency of space walks from the International Space Station. [39]

      The Overset Grid-Flow software was developed at Johnson Space Center in collaboration with NASA Ames Research Center. The software simulates fluid flow around solid bodies using computational fluid dynamics. [ citation needed ]

      Astronauts, center directors, and other NASA employees are memorialized in a Memorial Grove near the main entrance and visitor badging center (building 110). Trees dedicated to the memory of astronauts and center directors are in a round cluster closest to the entrance, other employees are memorialized behind along a road on the facility leading to the main entrance. [40] [41]

      JSC put in a bid to display one of the retired Space Shuttle orbiters, but was not selected. [42]


      Vostok 1's Impact On Space Exploration Development

      It meant that people could survive in space and there was a possibility of making more discoveries. When the Soviets were able to the beat the US to a common goal when they were so close to accomplishing it themselves it logically lead to some tension and made the US more focussed on completing the next step in space history. When President Kennedy announced that the US would reach the moon before the Soviets it showed that the US wanted to win the Space Race and that they were going to do anything to redeem themselves after not being able to get the first person in space. Ultimately Vostok 1 made the US want to have a larger breakthrough than the Soviets. This lead to the start of the Apollo Program.&hellip


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