On 12 September 1962, in a speech made at the Rice University, Houston, US President John Fitzgerald Kennedy announced a commitment to land men on the Moon by the end of the 1960s. The speech set NASA on a mission that it achieved with Apollo 11’s landing in July 1969. It should be noted NASA had only just managed manned orbital spaceflight starting with Johh Glenn’s flight earlier that year.
While NASA was shocked by the speech’s key timeline committment in the phrase “We choose to go to the moon in this decade,” (this new deadline caused many a sleepless night in NASA’s then leadership), fifty years on, the administration is now celebrating the anniversary of the speech that set it on its way to its greatest ever achievement.
President Kennedy at Rice University on 12 September 1962. Sadly, he was not able to see the fulfilment of his committment as he was assassinated the following year. Courtesy: NASA