NASA's Apollo 11 landed on the Moon on July 20, when astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed safely on the lunar module Eagle. Just six hours later, on July 21, Commander Armstrong became the first man to walk on the surface of the Moon, hitting the Soviet Union. And it was 50 years ago, this week, that the president of the United States, John F. Kennedy, encouraged NASA to set its sights on Earth's lunar companion. In a historic speech before the US Congress. UU On May 25, 1961, President Kennedy told the US space agency to land on the Moon before the end of the decade.
The president of EE. UU., Urged to act by the Soviets by successfully sending cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin into orbit, he feared that the Russians would win the space race.
President Kennedy said: "I believe that this nation should commit to reaching the goal, before the end of this decade, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth.
"No space project in this period will be more impressive for humanity, or more important for long-term space exploration; and none will be so difficult or costly to achieve. "
President Kennedy would die before this goal was achieved, but his passionate speech inspired an entire nation to action.
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JFK Speech: President Kennedy described his desire to land on the Moon on March 25, 1961.
On November 22, 1963, the president of the United States was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, by armed man Lee Harvey Oswald.
No single space project in this period will be more impressive for humanity.
Six years later, NASA would fulfill its dream of sending astronauts to the moon, while Richard Nixon held the position in the White House.
The US space agency UU It is preparing to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the monumental achievement by recalling the legacy of the Gemini and Apollo space programs, as well as the people whose work directly resulted in the landing of the Moon on Apollo 11.
Below is a transcript of President Kennedy's speech to Congress about the space race.
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John F. Kennedy's speech before the Congress, May 25, 1961, of the JFK Presidential Library and Museum:
"Ultimately, if we want to win the battle that is now being waged around the world between freedom and tyranny, the dramatic achievements in space that occurred in recent weeks should have made us all clearer, like Sputnik in 1957 , the impact of this adventure on the minds of men everywhere, who try to determine what path they should take.
"Since the beginning of my mandate, our efforts in space have been under review. With the advice of the Vice President, who is the President of the National Space Council, we have examined where we are strong and where we are not, where we can succeed and where we can not. Now is the time to take longer steps, the moment of a new great American company, the moment that this nation takes a clear role in the achievement of space, which in many aspects may be the key to our future on earth. .
"I think we have all the necessary resources and talents. But the facts of the matter are that we have never made national decisions or gathered the national resources necessary for such leadership. We have never specified long-term goals in an urgent schedule, nor have we managed our resources and our time to ensure compliance.
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"Therefore, I ask Congress, beyond the increases I have previously requested for space activities, to provide the necessary funds to meet the following national objectives:
"First, I believe that this nation should commit to achieving the goal, before the end of this decade, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive for humanity, or more important for long-term space exploration; and none will be so difficult or expensive to achieve. We propose to accelerate the development of the appropriate lunar spacecraft. We propose to develop alternative liquid and solid fuel propellants, much larger than any other that is being developed now, to a certain extent superior. We propose additional funds for the development of other engines and for unmanned explorations, explorations that are particularly important for a purpose that this nation will never overlook: the survival of the man who makes this flight audacious for the first time. But in a very real sense, there will not be a single man going to the Moon; If we make this judgment affirmatively, it will be a whole nation. For all of us we must work to put it there.
"Secondly, an additional 23 million dollars, together with 7 million dollars already available, will accelerate the development of the Rover nuclear rocket. This promises that one day it will provide a means for an even more exciting and ambitious exploration of space, perhaps beyond the Moon, perhaps to the very end of the solar system itself.
"Third, an additional $ 50 million will take full advantage of our current leadership by accelerating the use of space satellites for global communications.
"Fourth, an additional $ 75 million, of which $ 53 million is for the Climate Office, will help us provide a satellite system as soon as possible for global weather observation.
NASA's Apollo 11 landed on the Moon on July 20, 1969.
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"Let it be clear, and this is a judgment that the members of Congress must finally issue, that it is clear that I am asking Congress and the country to accept a firm commitment to a new course of action, a course that lasts for many years. and it entails very high costs: $ 531 million in the fiscal $ 62, an estimated seven to nine billion additional dollars over the next five years, if we are going to go only half way, or reduce our view the difficulty, in my opinion it would be better not to go at all.
"Now, this is an option that this country should do, and I am confident that under the leadership of the Space Committees of Congress and the Committees of Assignment, that they will consider the matter with care.
"It is a very important decision that we take as a nation. But all of you have lived the last four years and have seen the meaning of space and adventures in space, and no one can predict with any certainty what the final meaning of the domain of space will be.
"I think we should go to the Moon. But I believe that all citizens of this country, as well as members of Congress, should consider the matter carefully when issuing their judgment, to which we have paid attention for many weeks and months, because it is a heavy burden and it makes no sense to accept or We want the United States to adopt an affirmative position in outer space, unless we are prepared to do the work and carry the burdens for it to be successful. If we are not, we should decide today and this year.
"This decision requires an important national commitment of scientific and technical manpower, material and facilities, and the possibility of their deviation from other important activities where they are already scarcely distributed. It means a degree of dedication, organization and discipline that has not always characterized our research and development efforts. It means that we can not allow undue work stoppages, inflated costs of material or talent, rivalries between useless agencies or a high turnover of key personnel.
"New targets and new money can not solve these problems. In fact, they could aggravate them even more, unless every scientist, engineer, military, technician, contractor and official makes his personal promise that this nation will advance, with all the speed of freedom, in the exciting adventure. from space."