September 12 1962 President Kennedy stood in front of the nation and the world at Rice Stadium and proclaimed that :
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.
This was one of the greatest and most important speeches in the space race. With this speech the space race was put into high gear. JFK set the goal of landing on the moon within the decade. This was not only a lofty goal, but one that would not only help boost the economy, but be a bright spot in a nation during a time of struggle between the United States and The Soviet Union.
The Apollo program started with tragedy, On January 27th 1967 the crew of Apollo 1 was testing on the launch pad when a spark caused the pressurised capsule to catch on fire and kill all 3 crew members. When Kennedy said “because they are hard”, I don’t believe he had any idea of just how tough this would be. The next Apollo mission didn’t happen until November 9 1967 with the Apollo 4 launch.
July 20 1969 Apollo 11 landed on the moon. This mission not only certified the United States as the winner of the Space Race, but had all Americans gathered around their TV’s and Radio’s to listen and watch Walter Cronkite almost brought to tears with the live video of Neal Armstrong stepping foot off of the Lunar Module and onto the surface of the moon.
Here we are, February 15 2014 and The Government has all but scuttled NASA. Any space program is now virtually all privatised with most hops of only achieving low earth orbit with Spaceship 2 and replenishing the International Space Station via the SpaceX Falcon Rockets.
For fans of space travel and NASA like myself, it was a great relief to see that SpaceX has also developed the Dragon Space Craft that similar to the Apollo Module, can carry people to space and return them. While this is a great step in the right direction, we should also be working to put men back on the moon. There is plenty of talk about the manned missions to Mars that NASA would like to carry out. It is my belief that we should not try to put a man on Mars until we can successfully place a man back on the moon safely and create a Moon Base that can sustain life and be inhabitable.
I am urging all elected officials to appropriate money to companies such as SpaceX to quickly and safely return the United States to the moon first and then beyond. This country needs a new leader, who like Kennedy realized the significance of the manned exploration of Outer Space. We as a country need something to one again unify us and place us back in the lead of space exploration.