we are to win the battle that is now going on around the world between freedom and
tyranny, the dramatic achievements in space which occurred in recent weeks should have
made clear to us all, as did the Sputnik in 1957, the impact of this adventure on the
minds of men everywhere, who are attempting to make a determination of which road they
should take. Since early in my term, our efforts in space have been under review. With the
advice of the Vice President, who is Chairman of the National Space Council, we have
examined where we are strong and where we are not. Now it is time to take longer
strides--time for a great new American enterprise--time for this nation to take a clearly
leading role in space achievement, which in many ways may hold the key to our future on
I believe we possess all the resources and talents necessary.
But the facts of the matter are that we have never made the national decisions or
marshaled the national resources required for such leadership. We have never specified
long-range goals on an urgent time schedule, or managed our resources and our time so as
to insure their fulfillment.
Recognizing the head start obtained by the Soviets with their large rocket
engines, which gives them many months of lead-time, and recognizing the likelihood that
they will exploit this lead for some time to come in still more impressive successes, we
nevertheless are required to make new efforts on our own. For while we cannot guarantee
that we shall one day be first, we can guarantee that any failure to make this effort will
be our last. We take an additional risk by making it in full view of the world, but as
shown by the feat of astronaut Shepherd, this very risk enhances our stature when we are
successful. But this is not merely a race. Space is open to us now; and our eagerness to
share its meaning is not governed by the efforts of others. We go into space because
whatever mankind must undertake, free men must fully share.
I therefore ask the Congress, above and beyond the increases I have earlier
requested for space activities, to provide the funds which are needed to meet the
following national goals:
First, I believe that 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 the
Earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more
important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or
expensive to accomplish. We propose to accelerate the development of the appropriate lunar
space craft. We propose to develop alternate liquid and solid fuel boosters, much larger
than any now being developed, until certain which is superior. We propose additional funds
for other engine development and for unmanned explorations--explorations which are
particularly important for one purpose which this nation will never overlook: the survival
of the man who first makes this daring flight. But in a very real sense, it will not be
one man going to the Moon--if we make this judgment affirmatively, it will be an entire
nation. For all of us must work to put him there.
Secondly, an additional 23 million dollars, together with 7 million dollars
already available, will accelerate development of the Rover nuclear rocket. This gives
promise of some day providing a means for even more exciting and ambitious exploration of
space, perhaps beyond the Moon, perhaps to the very end of the solar system itself.
Third, an additional 50 million dollars will make the most of our present
leadership, by accelerating the use of space satellites for world-wide communications.
Fourth, an additional 75 million dollars--of which 53 million dollars is for
the Weather Bureau--will help give us at the earliest possible time a satellite system for
world-wide weather observation.
Let it be clear--and this is a judgment which the Members of the Congress must
finally make--let it be clear that I am asking the Congress and the country to accept a
firm commitment to a new course of action--a course which will last for many years and
carry very heavy costs: 531 million dollars in fiscal '62--an estimated seven to nine
billion dollars additional over the next five years. If we are to go only half way, of
reduce our sights in the face of difficulty, in my judgment it would be better not to go
Now this is a choice which this country must make, and I am confident that
under the leadership of the Space Committees of the Congress, and the Appropriating
Committees, that you will consider the matter carefully.
It is a most important decision that we must make as a nation. But all of you
have lived through the last four years and have seen the significance of space and the
adventures in space, and no one can predict with certainty what the ultimate meaning will
be of mastery of space.
I believe we should go to the Moon. But I think every citizen of this country
as well as the Members of the Congress should consider the matter carefully in making
their judgment, to which we have given attention over many weeks and months, because it is
a heavy burden, and there is no sense in agreeing or desiring that the United States take
an affirmative position in outer space, unless we are prepared to do the work and bear the
burdens to make it successful. If we are not, we should decide today and this year.
This decision demands a major national commitment of scientific and technical
manpower, material and facilities, and the possibility of their diversion from other
important activities where they are already thinly spread. It means a degree of
dedication, organization and discipline which have not always characterized our research
and development efforts. It means we cannot afford undue work stoppages, inflated costs of
material or talent, wasteful interagency rivalries, or a high turnover of key personnel.
New objectives and new money cannot solve these problems. The could in fact,
aggravate them further--unless every scientist, every engineer, every serviceman, every
technician, contractor, and civil servant gives his personal pledge that this nation will
move forward, with the full speed of freedom, in the exciting adventure of space.