50 Years Ago – Today

On May 25th 1961 President Kennedy made a speech to a joint session of Congress. In that memorial speech he said that; “this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.” At that time the US had only put one person into space (Alan Shepard) and his mission was not an orbital flight. The Russians had already put a man into into orbit. It signaled the beginning of the space race.
At a visit to the Smithsonian Museum a few years ago I saw a Russian space suit that would have been used on the moon by their cosmonaut. They had every intent to go to the moon but the US beat them there. As President Kennedy said we did it before the end of the decade. Part of the reason that we were able to afford the large cost was that the US economy was strong in the 60s. The space program has added to our technology and was definitely worth the costs. The space shuttle program is about to end with only one mission left to the space station. Now in bad economic times there is no plan to replace the aging shuttles and the entire space program has been cut to the bone.