There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation many never come again. But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?
We choose to go to the moon. 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.
President John F. Kennedy, 12th September 1962, at Rice University, Houston, Texas
On this day 51 years ago, President John F. Kennedy, gave his inspirational “Moon speech” in support of NASA’s Apollo program. In his speech he clearly articulated the vision and a clear timeline “We choose to go to the moon in this decade”. He also conveyed the why? “because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills”. The “Moon speech” marked a key moment in the history of NASA and space exploration.
“Clearly, it’s important, because you’ve got a president who steps up and says we’re going to do it, makes it a policy objective, makes it a budgetary priority and reaffirms that commitment,”
Roger Launius, space history curator at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum
Less than a decade later, Kennedy’s vision came true, and on 20th July 1969, NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong stepped onto Moon.