Tuesday, 16 July 2019

space race

Via Mysterious Universe, on this fiftieth anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11 from Cape Canaveral we learn that according to one imminent historian, John F Kennedy, who famously charged his nation with committing “itself to achieving the goal before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth,” did not intend for the Space Race to become the bi-polar, ideological struggle and ongoing rivalry that it since morphed into but rather entertained it might be an international collaborative effort that might help foster peace and cooperation.
In an interview granted to the Telegraph (possible paywall) ahead of his book release, John Logsdon, director of the Space Policy Institute and former member of the NASA advisory council. Delivering that speech before Congress in May of 1961 with the Bay of Pigs standoff only recently diffused, US-Soviet tensions were heightened and the private meeting between Nikita Khrushchev and JFK in Vienna a few weeks later was probably dominated by negotiation on nuclear proliferation and spheres of influence, but there is evidence to suggest that Kennedy might have broached the idea of a joint mission to the lunar surface. Later even entertained before a United Nations assembly, it’s a matter of some speculation why this did not occur but is nonetheless satisfying to indulge what the common effort might have looked like for geopolitics. Though crewed landing on the Moon was not itself a shared endeavour, the détente and cooperation was ushered in with the last mission of the programme itself, with the Apollo-Soyuz test project conducted in July of 1975.