Born: 1916. Died: 1963-11-22.
John F. Kennedy was President of the United States, 1961-1963. In 1960 John F. Kennedy, a Senator from Massachusetts between 1953 and 1960, ran for president as the Democratic candidate, with party wheel horse Lyndon B. Johnson as his running mate. Using the slogan, "Let's get this country moving again," Kennedy charged the Republican Eisenhower Administration with doing nothing about the myriad social, economic, and international problems that festered in the 1950s. He was especially hard on Eisenhower's record in international relations, taking a Cold Warrior position on a supposed "missile gap" (which turned out not to be the case) wherein the United States lagged far behind the Soviet Union in ICBM technology. On May 25, 1961, President Kennedy announced to the nation a goal of sending an American to the Moon before the end of the decade. The human spaceflight imperative was a direct outgrowth of it; Projects Mercury (at least in its latter stages), Gemini, and Apollo were each designed to execute it.
President-elect John F. Kennedy released a special report compiled by a nine-member ad hoc committee headed by Dr. Jerome Wiesner. The committee advised a reorganization of the national space program to increase its effectiveness. Single responsibility within the Defense Department for management of the military space program was strongly urged, as was stronger technical management in NASA. The committee report was especially emphatic in stressing the hazard of failing to complete and deploy ICBMs as part of the nation's deterrent force.
President-elect John F. Kennedy released a report made to him by his Ad Hoc Committee on Space named to review the U.S. space and missile programs and identify personnel, technical, or administrative problems which would require the prompt attention of the Kennedy Administration. The Committee, whose chairman was Jerome B. Wiesner of MIT, concluded that the national space program required a redefinition of objectives, that the National Aeronautics and Space Council should be made an effective agency for managing the space program, that there should be a single responsible agency within the military establishment to manage the military part of the space program, that NASA management should be reorganized with stronger emphasis on technical direction, and that organizational machinery should be set up within the government to administer an industry-government civilian space program.
President John F. Kennedy announced that he was nominating James E. Webb as Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Hugh L. Dryden as Deputy Administrator, Senate confirmation followed on February 9 and they were sworn in on February 14.
President John F. Kennedy reduced the FY 1962 budget for the Titan force from 14 to 12 squadrons. Accordingly, the Air Force Ballistic Missile Committee cancelled the two Titan II squadrons planned for Griffiss AFB, New York. In addition, the President deferred the current plans for three mobile Minuteman missile squadrons.
President John F. Kennedy submitted to Congress an amended budget request for NASA which totaled $1,235,300,000. This total was $125,670,000 greater than the Eisenhower Administration's request. The increase included $56 million for Saturn research and development and $11 million for the extension of Cape Canaveral facilities.
The Space Science Board of the National Academy of Sciences submitted to President John F. Kennedy its recommendation that "scientific exploration of the moon and planets should be clearly stated as the ultimate objective of the U.S. space program for the foreseeable future." While stressing the importance of the scientific goals of the program, the Board also emphasized other factors such as "the sense of national leadership emergent from bold and imaginative U.S. space activity." The recommendations of the Board had been adopted at a meeting on February 10-11 and were made public on August 7.
President John F. Kennedy, in his regular press conference, stated that "no one is more tired than I am" of seeing the United States second to Russia in space. "They secured large boosters which have led to their being first in Sputnik, and led to their first putting their man in space. We are, I hope, going to be able to carry out our efforts, with due regard to the problem of the life of the men involved, this year. But we are behind . . . the news will be worse before it is better, and it will be some time before we catch up. . . ."
Astronaut Alan Shepard, pilot of the Freedom 7 spacecraft (MR-3) was awarded NASA's Distinguished Service Medal by President John F. Kennedy in a ceremony at the White House. It was followed by an informal parade to the Capitol by the seven astronauts for lunch, and a press conference at the State Department auditorium.
Senator Robert S. Kerr, chairman of the Senate Aeronautical and Space Sciences Committee, told a group at the National Radio and Television Convention that President Kennedy accepted the views of NASA and congressional leaders in approving the manned Mercury-Redstone flight of May 5.
President Kennedy, in a major message to Congress, called for a vastly accelerated space program based on a long-range national goal of landing a man on the moon and bringing him safely back to Earth. For this and associated projects in space technology, the President requested additional appropriations totaling $611 million for NASA and the Department of Defense.
Following Gagarin's flight and Bay of Pigs failure, Kennedy announces the objective of landing an American on the moon by end of the decade. In his second State of the Union Message President Kennedy said: "With the advice of the Vice President, who is Chairman of the National Space Council, we have examined where we (United States) are strong and where we are not, where we may succeed and where we may not. . . . Now is the time to take longer strides-time for a great new American enterprise-time for this Nation to take a clearly leading role in space achievement which in many ways may hold the key to our future on Earth." President Kennedy set forth an accelerated space program based upon the long-range national goals of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth; early development of the Rover nuclear rocket; speed up the use of Earth satellites for worldwide communications; and provide "at the earliest possible time a satellite system for worldwide weather observation." An additional $549 million was requested for NASA over the new administration March budget requests; $62 million was requested for DOD for starting development of a solid-propellant booster of the Nova class.
At Cape Canaveral with the President's Missile Sites Labor Commission, Secretary of Labor Goldberg made public President Kennedy's message praising the voluntary, no-strike, no-lockout pledges covering labor-management relations at missile and space sites. The President's message stated that "the Nation cannot afford the luxury of avoidable delay in our missile and space program. Neither can we tolerate wasteful and expensive practices which add to the great financial burden our defense effort already places on us."
In his State of the Union message to the Congress, President John F . Kennedy said: "With the approval of this Congress, we have undertaken in the past year a great new effort in outer space. Our aim is not simply to be first on the moon, any more than Charles Lindbergh's real aim was to be first to Paris. His aim was to develop the techniques and the authority of this country and other countries in the field of the air and the atmosphere, and our objective in making this effort, which we hope will place one of our citizens on the moon, is to develop in a new frontier of science, commerce and cooperation, the position of the United States and the free world. This nation belongs among the first to explore it. And among the first - if not the first - we shall be."
At his regular press conference, President John F. Kennedy was asked for his "evaluation of our progress in space at this time" and whether the United States had changed its "timetable for landing a man on the moon." He replied: "As I said from the beginning, we have been behind . . . and we are running into the difficulties which came from starting late, We, however, are going to proceed by making a maximum effort. As you know, the expenditures in our space program are enormous . . . the time schedule, at least our hope, has not been changed by the recent setbacks (Ranger failures)."
James E. Webb, NASA Administrator, recommended to President John F. Kennedy that the Apollo program be given DX priority (highest priority in the procurement of critical materials). He also sent a memorandum to Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, Chairman of the National Aeronautics and Space Council, requesting that the Council consider advising the President to add the Apollo program to the DX priority list.
They view the Redstone and Atlas rockets and a Mercury space capsule. Kamanin finds the Mercury very cramped, but notes that it is equipped with all the necessities. Glenn tells him it was possible for the astronaut to wear a parachute, but Glenn chose not to - he didn't believe he could really use it in an emergency anyway. Afterwards they were introduced to President Kennedy and Vice-President Johnson.
President John F. Kennedy announced that Robert R. Gilruth, Director of Manned Spacecraft Center, would receive the President's Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service. This award was made for his successful accomplishment of 'one of the most complex tasks ever presented to man in this country. . . the achievement of manned flight in orbit around the earth.'
President John F. Kennedy spoke at Rice University, Houston, Tex., where he said:
"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. . . .
"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. . . ."
Faced by opposition of mode selection by Jerome Wiesner, Kennedy's science adviser, NASA let contracts to McDonnell and STL for direct two-man flight modes. Both concluded that it was feasible but would require LH2/LOX stages for descent and ascent from lunar surface, which NASA/STG adamantly opposed. This was also the last stab - for the time being - at 'lunar Gemini'.
The Office of Systems under NASA's Office of Manned Space Flight completed a manned lunar landing mode comparison embodying the most recent studies by contractors and NASA Centers. The report was the outgrowth of the decision announced by NASA on July 11 to continue studies on lunar landing modes while basing planning and procurement primarily on the lunar orbit rendezvous (LOR) technique. Additional Details: here....
NASA's Mercury orbital operations plan of July 19, 1961 had four spacecraft equipped for three-orbit flights. However by Schirra's flight the seven-astronaut corps was down to four. So even thought the flight-ready SC19 had been delivered to Cape Canaveral on March 20, 1962, the decision was taken to cancel the remaining short-duration mission and move directly to an 18 orbit mission.
President John F. Kennedy sent his budget request for Fiscal Year 1964 to Congress. The President recommended a NASA appropriation of $5.712 billion, $3.193 billion of which was for manned space flight. Apollo received a dramatic increase - $1.207 billion compared with $435 million the previous year. NASA Administrator James E. Webb nonetheless characterized the budget, about half a billion dollars less than earlier considered, as one of "austerity." While it would not appreciably speed up the lunar landing timetable, he said, NASA could achieve the goal of placing a man on the moon within the decade.
President John F. Kennedy, during an address before the United Nations General Assembly, suggested the possibility of Russian-American "cooperation" in space. Though not proposing any specific program, Kennedy stated that, "in a field where the United States and the Soviet Union have a special capacity - the field of space - there is room for new cooperation, for further joint efforts in the regulation and exploration of space. I include among these possibilities," he said, "a joint expedition to the moon. . . . Surely we should explore whether the scientists and astronauts of our two countries - indeed, of all the world - cannot work together in the conquest of space, sending some day in this decade to the moon, not the representatives of a single nation, but the representatives of all humanity." Additional Details: here....
News reaches Moscow that Kennedy has been assassinated. Kamanin talks with Rudenko, who is not interested in Kamanin's plans for a wider VVS role in space. Rudenko believes Korolev's promises that Soyuz will start test flights in 1964 and that no further Vostok flights are necessary. Kamanin pleads that without such flights the American Gemini program will fly unopposed and give the Americans a decisive lead in the space race. The Soviet Union could launch a modified Vostok - a three place spacecraft - to upstage Gemini but the decision has to made now. Rudenko is unmoved.
In honor of the late President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated six days earlier, President Lyndon B. Johnson announced that LOC and Station No. 1 of the Atlantic Missile Range would be designated the John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC), ". . . to honor his memory, and the future of the works he started . . . ," Johnson said. On the following day, he signed an executive order making this change official. With the concurrence of Florida Governor Farris Bryant, he also changed the name of Cape Canaveral to Cape Kennedy.
NASA announced that the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and Vandenberg AFB in California would be the operational bases for the future Space Transportation System (STS). The research and development launches of the Space Shuttle would be made from Cape Canaveral, as would the civilian space launches, while the military Space Shuttle launches would be from Vandenberg AFB. SAMSO was the responsible Defense Department agency for defining the military applications and requirements for the Space Shuttle and for cooperating with NASA in the development of the STS.