14 July 2011. A recently published book entitled “John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon”was presented at ESPI by its well-known author John M. Logsdon in an event co-sponsored by the Institute and the Austrian Space Agency (FFG).

Dr. John M. Logsdon, Professor Emeritus of the Space Policy Institute at The George Washington University has authored a new book entitled “John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon”. It discusses the period of President Kennedy’s decision to go to the Moon and whether to compete or cooperate with the Soviet Union. On May 25, 1961, President Kennedy spoke before a joint session of Congress and voiced the words that have become known as a defining moment in the history of the space age: “I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth.”

John M. Logsdon during his presentation

Professor Logsdon’s lecture examined the political forces that shaped space policy during the Kennedy Administration. This second book of John Logsdon (the first one, entitled “The Decision to Go to the Moon: Project Apollo and the National Interest” was published in 1970) reveals new facts concerning the events of the Apollo era and their aftermath. The author believes that Project Apollo was a unique case in which a set of favourable circumstances converged to create enough national commitment and momentum to achieve its stated goals. Accordingly, the Apollo era should not necessarily be considered as a model for the 21st century space efforts, but rather as a remarkable achievement of the Kennedy Administration. The lecture was followed by a roundtable discussion moderated by Kai-Uwe Schrogl, ESPI Director and with the participation of Gerhard Hertenberger, journalist and author of a recently published book on the early stages of the soviet human spaceflight programme.

John M. Logsdon (right) with Gerhard Hertenberger (left) and ESPI's Kai-Uwe Schrogl


Prior to the lecture, ESPI staff had an opportunity to meet with John M. Logsdon and discuss a number of issues, including the future of human exploration; the utilization of the ISS and possible post-ISS scenarios; the potential impact of budgetary cuts on the U.S. space programme; the level of support for the civilian space programme by past U.S. Presidents and the current administration; the status of U.S. – Europe space relations; and the evolving space programmes of other countries such as Japan and South Korea.

John Logsdon meets with ESPI staff

- ESPI/FFG book presentation by John Logsdon

- John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon

 Photo credit: ESPI

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