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**New tape: J.F.K fretted Moon Program was Tough Sell: (wanted USSR to do better)

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posted on May, 25 2011 @ 08:13 AM

BOSTON (AP) -- After setting a soaring vision to land a man on the moon, President John F. Kennedy struggled with how to sell the public on a costly space program he worried had "lost its glamour" and had scant political benefits, according to a newly released White House tape. Kennedy and NASA Administrator James Webb hashed out how to strengthen public backing for the mission, such as by highlighting its technological benefits and military uses.

And in a scenario that echoes today, the two worried about preserving funding amid what Webb calls a "driving desire to cut the budget," according to the tape recorded two months before Kennedy was assassinated.

"It's become a political struggle now," Kennedy says, near the end of the 46-minute tape. "We've got to hold this thing, goddamn it."

Its release Wednesday comes on the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's May 25, 1961, speech in which he made his famous call to reach the moon by decade's end. While that speech is remembered for its ambition, it also included a caveat that "no single space project in this period ... will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish."

In the tape recorded more than two years later, Kennedy and Webb are heard dealing with that reality. With the 1964 election approaching, Kennedy frets a massive program that's not making obvious advances will prove a liability. "I don't think the space program has much political positives," Kennedy tells Webb.

The president seems to lament that the rival Russians haven't made the progress in their half of the space race that could bring needed attention to America's program. "I mean if the Russians do some tremendous feat, then it would stimulate interest again, but right now space has lost a lot of its glamour," Kennedy said

At one point, Kennedy challenges Webb to answer, "Do you think the lunar, manned landing on the moon is a good idea?" The president also asks for and receives assurances from Webb that sending a man to the moon isn't just a "stunt" that will yield the same advances as sending scientific instruments to the moon's surface for billions less.

Kennedy and Webb then agree it's crucial to emphasize the space program's importance to the military and national security, or risk it being considered wasteful. "The heat's going to go on unless we can say this has got some military justification and not just prestige," Kennedy says. "I think it's the only way we're going to be able to defend it before the public in the next 12 months," Kennedy says. "I want to get the military shield over this thing."

The tape transcription (a heck more stuff in there):

Very interesting. Well, I would love to hear more about this. I have to ask though... what exactly he meant by getting a "military shield" on this.

Whatever the tapes say, he was able to get the American public to go along and I don't think they focused on the military aspect-at least on the sell to the public.

Thank God he pressed on. Look were we are today!

I do find it interesting he was cheering the Russians on-and at that time, Russia was in the lead...I think.

Any of you old timers remember anything JFK did to convice the public-conviced you etc?

I put a few things I found in the thread-I think you'll like them

edit on 5/25/2011 by anon72 because: (no reason given)

edit on 5/25/2011 by anon72 because: (no reason given)

edit on 5/25/2011 by anon72 because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 25 2011 @ 08:38 AM
It was healthy competition. The race brought a lot of technological innovation to the table. An end to the space race meant, a slower technological evolution.
edit on 25-5-2011 by Jepic because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 25 2011 @ 09:15 AM
""""I have to ask though... what exactly he meant by getting a "military shield" on this. """

Forcing Congress to Appropriate full funding for it.

Our military has no shield now securing it's funding.

She's running at bare minimum. illegal immigrants for laborers are the only thing guaranteed to DOD right now to run on the cheap.

And it's also why the US Economy ain't rebounded. Ain't no big DOD to prop up the market buying crap. Just cheap contractors running on the cheap and not even changing the oil in equipment so they turn a profit for shareholders sitting in Virginia, Philadelphia, and Washington DC.

Clinton's Quadrennial Defense Review's plans were to gut DOD, get rid of decent paying Civil Service jobs for Americans, cut GI positions/ the Billions could be used to buy off people/countries around the world.....and likely some of that money is making it back to the clinton's pockets as well as those in the "know" of what happened.
edit on 25-5-2011 by Pervius because: spellin

posted on May, 25 2011 @ 09:41 AM
reply to post by Pervius

Hmmm, thanks for your input.

I can't say I completely agree but I think you are on track with a lot of it.

that's why I post things, to get varying opinions/thoughts etc.

posted on May, 25 2011 @ 09:51 AM

Originally posted by anon72
Any of you old timers remember anything JFK did to convice the public-conviced you etc?

I put a few things I found in the thread-I think you'll like them
Yes, I do like the things you found and pit in the thread, S&F, and thanks!

That was before my time, but I've often wondered if Kennedy's assassination may have paved the way. In other words, if Kennedy had lived, maybe he would have had real battles to fight from 1964-1970. But as it turned out, his death may have eliminated those battles. Perhaps the American people remembered that putting a man on the moon was one of Kennedy's dreams so they were perhaps more supportive of the idea in honor of the dead president? I don't know, just a thought, but my mom said he was one of the best liked presidents so it doesn't seem too far-fetched.

It might have been a joint venture instead of a space race, if Kennedy hadn't been assassinated:

On 20 September 1963, in a speech before the United Nations General Assembly, President Kennedy proposed that the United States and the Soviet Union join forces in their efforts to reach the moon. Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev initially rejected Kennedy's proposal, however during the next few weeks he concluded that both nations might realize cost benefits and technological gains from a joint venture. Khrushchev was poised to accept Kennedy's proposal at the time of Kennedy's assassination in November, 1963.

Khrushchev and Kennedy had developed a measure of rapport during their years as leaders of the world's two superpowers, especially during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. That trust was lacking with Vice President Johnson; when Johnson assumed the Presidency after Kennedy's assassination, Khrushchev dropped the idea of a joint U.S.-U.S.S.R. moon program.
What a difference the death of one man can make.

posted on May, 25 2011 @ 10:20 AM
Very interesting insight.

The Soviets were ahead of the US in many aspects of space exploration at the time. Their program was more secretive though. So Kennedy may not have known how far along the Soviets were in certain fields. The Soviets would launch a rocket and only if successful then they would release footage and photos etc, if it wasn't they'd bury it. The US on the other hand as Kennedy pointed out was worried about maintaining crucially needed public opinion and support and financing. All too often our rockets blew up in a very publicly displayed manner. The movie "The Right Stuff" portrayed accurately the frustration and disappointment in what seemed like lack of progress in the US Space programs "Catching" up period with the Soviets.

It wasn't until years later that it was revealed just how much the Soviets were struggling with developing an answer to the Saturn V rocket.

Soviet N-1 - US Saturn V

Inside the Soviets’ Secret Failed Moon Program
Getting to the moon requires launching a command module and a lander. Both are heavy objects and require massive amounts of thrust to get into orbit. The Soviet’s planned to use their N-1 rocket, but two failed launches in 1971 and 1972 destroyed dummy landing and control modules, as well as the rockets themselves, and led to the program being shelved for lack of a proper launch vehicle.

People laughed at then and some still do this day about the US Lunar lander. Saying it looked clunky and question whether or not it could even do the job.

The Soviets had their own version which was even smaller. Meant for a single Cosmonaut.

The Soviets developed a similar multi-step approach to NASA, involving a module used to orbit the moon and one for landing. Their version was decidedly less complex and lighter to account for inferior rockets. These photos show the LK “Lunar Craft” lander, which has a similar pod-over-landing gear structure but numerous key differences.

All the activities done by two astronauts is done by one. To make the craft lighter, the LK only fits the one cosmonaut, who was supposed to peer through a tiny window on the side of the craft to land it. After landing the vehicle the pod separates from the landing gear, as with the Apollo Lunar Module, but uses the same engine for landing as it does for take off as another weight savings.

The L2 Lunar Orbit Module designed to transport the LK into orbit around the moon was similarly stripped down. There’s no internal connection between the two craft so the cosmonaut had to space walk outside to get into the LK and head towards the surface. When the LK rejoined the L2 for the return trip home, the now likely exhausted would then climb back out into the abyss of space. The LK would then be thrown away.

There were numerous political, scientific and financial reasons why the Soviets didn’t make it to the moon first, including a space agency with split priorities and therefore not single-mindedly dedicated to this goal. Neil Armstrong walked on the moon first on July 20, 1969, besting the Russians, who were still planning to visit the moon in the upcoming years.

edit on 25-5-2011 by SLAYER69 because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 25 2011 @ 01:35 PM
Yes, a very interesting insight.

It put a whole new reality to the Space Program for me. A real human factor of the people who had to make the thing happen.

I sure hope history doesn't show JFK being killed due to the Space Programs or UFO/Aliens inquiries. That would totally suck.

I read over the complete article at the 2nd link. JFK was driven and a leader in that area. Without that, we may not be where we are today with it all.

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