Author Topic: This Day in History: May 25, 1961  (Read 1703 times)

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Offline rickl

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This Day in History: May 25, 1961
« on: May 25, 2011, 07:53:51 PM »
It's the 50th anniversary of JFK's famous speech in which he committed the nation to land on the moon "before this decade is out".

Rand Simberg has an article about it at Pajamas Media:  Star Dreck: It's High Time for a New Space Policy

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Several important events in human spaceflight occurred in 1961. The first man and first American were shot into space fifty years ago this spring — but the most important anniversary is May 25th. Half a century ago today, President John F. Kennedy gave a speech before Congress in which he famously announced that the nation should, “before the decade was out,” accomplish the goal of “landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.” Thus was the Apollo program born — and thus, many believe, we began to get serious about space.

But they are mistaken. That day was actually the beginning of a long national detour in space development, at least for human spaceflight. It’s one from which we are only now emerging, with the change being fought in a rear-guard effort by entrenched interests in a few key states and Washington.

There are a lot of myths about Apollo and human spaceflight, starting with the speech itself. Many believe that the moon announcement was the focus of the speech, but it was actually more of a supplemental state of the union message. The space policy was just one of nine areas covered, and the last one at that. Nor was it really about opening up the frontier, as others continue to imagine. It was about winning a crucial battle in the Cold War, in a technological area that was viewed to be of high military significance. The speech was not spurred by visions of a new ocean, but by yet another defeat in the space race (Yuri Gagarin had beaten Alan Shepard into not only space but orbit a month and a half earlier), and by the ignominious failure at the Bay of Pigs a month before, which was viewed as another lost battle in the Cold War to a Soviet proxy. The moon announcement was viewed as a means of trying to regain the initiative.

Of course, as it turned out, Apollo was a spectacular success, both in terms of winning the Cold-War battle and (a secondary goal, vigorously pursued by Texan Vice President Lyndon Johnson) in creating a “Marshall Plan” for the industrialization of the American South, with new high-tech activities in Houston, northern Alabama, and central Florida, among other places.

But in terms of actually opening up the space frontier, it was nothing short of catastrophic. We have spent hundreds of billions on it over the years, to send a few hundred government employees into space, at a cost of over a billion dollars a flight. And in July, with the last flight of the Shuttle, we won’t even be able to continue to do that.

Read the whole thing.
We are so far past and beyond the “long train of abuses and usurpations” that the Colonists and Founders experienced and which necessitated the Revolutionary War that they aren’t even visible in the rear-view mirror.
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charlesoakwood

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Re: This Day in History: May 25, 1961
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2011, 08:06:13 PM »
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in creating a “Marshall Plan” for the industrialization of the American South, with new high-tech activities in Houston, northern Alabama, and central Florida, among other places.

That's about a belly.


Offline rickl

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Re: This Day in History: May 25, 1961
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2011, 08:17:44 PM »
We are so far past and beyond the “long train of abuses and usurpations” that the Colonists and Founders experienced and which necessitated the Revolutionary War that they aren’t even visible in the rear-view mirror.
~ Ann Barnhardt

charlesoakwood

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Re: This Day in History: May 25, 1961
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2011, 10:15:39 PM »

 full of pompous reconstructionistas.


Offline Sectionhand

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Re: This Day in History: May 25, 1961
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2011, 11:15:51 AM »
It's the 50th anniversary of JFK's famous speech in which he committed the nation to land on the moon "before this decade is out".


I wonder who wrote the speech for him . Probably the same guy who wrote "Profiles In Courage" . Maybe we should have raised the money for the space program the same way his old man got his ... Kiting stock and boot-legging .   ::pokeineye::

Offline Libertas

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Re: This Day in History: May 25, 1961
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2011, 11:50:11 AM »
It's the 50th anniversary of JFK's famous speech in which he committed the nation to land on the moon "before this decade is out".


I wonder who wrote the speech for him . Probably the same guy who wrote "Profiles In Courage" . Maybe we should have raised the money for the space program the same way his old man got his ... Kiting stock and boot-legging .   ::pokeineye::

Oh oh, don't forget cozying up to fascists!  That's a lot easier today, you don't even have to cross the pond, just the Potomac!
Irrumabo!  GOP? - Nope. No more. They made their bed, now let them die in it.*
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