Category Archives: Space Force

We Choose To Go To the Moon

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Great Presidential Speeches Series – President John F. Kennedy,  gives his ‘Race for Space’ speech at Houston’s Rice University. Texas, September 12, 1962.

I appreciate your president having made me an honorary visiting professor, and I will assure you that my first lecture will be very brief.

I am delighted to be here, and I’m particularly delighted to be here on this occasion.

We meet at a college noted for knowledge, in a city noted for progress, in a state noted for strength, and we stand in need of all three, for we meet in an hour of change and challenge, in a decade of hope and fear, in an age of both knowledge and ignorance. The greater our knowledge increases, the greater our ignorance unfolds.

Despite the striking fact that most of the scientists that the world has ever known are alive and working today, despite the fact that this nation’s own scientific manpower is doubling every 12 years in a rate of growth more than three times that of our population as a whole, despite that, the vast stretches of the unknown and the unanswered and the unfinished still far outstrip our collective comprehension.

President Kennedy gives his 'Race for Space' speech at Houston's Rice University. Texas, September 12, 1962. Photo: Historical/Corbis Via Getty Images

Photo: Historical/Corbis Via Getty Images

No man can fully grasp how far and how fast we have come, but condense, if you will, the 50,000 years of man’s recorded history in a time span of but a half-century. Stated in these terms, we know very little about the first 40 years, except at the end of them advanced man had learned to use the skins of animals to cover them. Then about 10 years ago, under this standard, man emerged from his caves to construct other kinds of shelter. Only five years ago man learned to write and use a cart with wheels. Christianity began less than two years ago. The printing press came this year, and then less than two months ago, during this whole 50-year span of human history, the steam engine provided a new source of power.

This is a breathtaking pace, and such a pace cannot help but create new ills as it dispels old, new ignorance, new problems, new dangers. Surely the opening vistas of space promise high costs and hardships, as well as high reward.

So it is not surprising that some would have us stay where we are a little longer to rest, to wait. But this city of Houston, this state of Texas, this country of the United States was not built by those who waited and rested and wished to look behind them. This country was conquered by those who moved forward — and so will space.

William Bradford, speaking in 1630 of the founding of the Plymouth Bay Colony, said that all great and honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulties, and both must be enterprised and overcome with answerable courage.

If this capsule history of our progress teaches us anything, it is that man, in his quest for knowledge and progress, is determined and cannot be deterred. The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in it or not, and it is one of the great adventures of all time, and no nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in the race for space.

Those who came before us made certain that this country rode the first waves of the industrial revolutions, the first waves of modern invention, and the first wave of nuclear power, and this generation does not intend to founder in the backwash of the coming age of space. We mean to be a part of it. We mean to lead it. For the eyes of the world now look into space, to the moon and to the planets beyond, and we have vowed that we shall not see it governed by a hostile flag of conquest, but by a banner of freedom and peace. We have vowed that we shall not see space filled with weapons of mass destruction, but with instruments of knowledge and understanding.

Yet the vows of this nation can only be fulfilled if we in this nation are first, and, therefore, we intend to be first. In short, our leadership in science and in industry, our hopes for peace and security, our obligations to ourselves as well as others, all require us to make this effort, to solve these mysteries, to solve them for the good of all men, and to become the world’s leading space-faring nation.

We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people. For space science, like nuclear science and all technology, has no conscience of its own. Whether it will become a force for good or ill depends on man, and only if the United States occupies a position of pre-eminence can we help decide whether this new ocean will be a sea of peace or a new, terrifying theater of war. I do not say the we should or will go unprotected against the hostile misuse of space any more than we go unprotected against the hostile use of land or sea, but I do say that space can be explored and mastered without feeding the fires of war, without repeating the mistakes that man has made in extending his writ around this globe of ours.

There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation many never come again. But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?

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.

It is for these reasons that I regard the decision last year to shift our efforts in space from low to high gear as among the most important decisions that will be made during my incumbency in the office of the Presidency.

In the last 24 hours we have seen facilities now being created for the greatest and most complex exploration in man’s history. We have felt the ground shake and the air shattered by the testing of a Saturn C-1 booster rocket, many times as powerful as the Atlas, which launched John Glenn, generating power equivalent to 10,000 automobiles with their accelerator on the floor. We have seen the site where five F-1 rocket engines, each one as powerful as all eight engines of the Saturn combined, will be clustered together to make the advanced Saturn missile, assembled in a new building to be built at Cape Canaveral as tall as a 48-story structure, as wide as a city block, and as long as two lengths of this field.

Within these last 19 months, at least 45 satellites have circled the earth. Some 40 of them were “made in the United States of America” and they were far more sophisticated and supplied far more knowledge to the people of the world than those of the Soviet Union.

The Mariner spacecraft now on its way to Venus is the most intricate instrument in the history of space science. The accuracy of that shot is comparable to firing a missile from Cape Canaveral and dropping it in this stadium between the 40-yard lines.

Transit satellites are helping our ships at sea to steer a safer course. Tiros satellites have given us unprecedented warnings of hurricanes and storms and will do the same for forest fires and icebergs.

We have had our failures, but so have others, even if they do not admit them. And they may be less public.

To be sure, we are behind, and will be behind for some time in manned flight. But we do not intend to stay behind, and in this decade, we shall make up and move ahead.

The growth of our science and education will be enriched by new knowledge of our universe and environment, by new techniques of learning and mapping and observation, by new tools and computers for industry, medicine, the home as well as the school. Technical institutions such as Rice will reap the harvest of these gains.

And finally, the space effort itself, while still in its infancy, has already created a great number of new companies and tens of thousands of new jobs. Space and related industries are generating new demands in investment and skilled personnel, and this city and this state, and this region, will share greatly in this growth. What was once the furthest outpost on the old frontier of the West will be the furthest outpost on the new frontier of science and space. Houston, your city of Houston, with its Manned Spacecraft Center, will become the heart of a large scientific and engineering community. During the next 5 years, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration expects to double the number of scientists and engineers in this area, to increase its outlays for salaries and expenses to $60 million a year; to invest some $200 million in plant and laboratory facilities; and to direct or contract for new space efforts over $1 billion from this center in this city.

To be sure, all this costs us all a good deal of money. This year’s space budget is three times what it was in January 1961, and it is greater than the space budget of the previous eight years combined. That budget now stands at $5,400 million a year — a staggering sum, though somewhat less than we pay for cigarettes and cigars every year. Space expenditures will soon rise some more, from 40 cents per person per week to more than 50 cents a week for every man, woman and child in the United States, for we have given this program a high national priority — even though I realize that this is in some measure an act of faith and vision, for we do not now know what benefits await us.

But if I were to say, my fellow citizens, that we shall send to the moon, 240,000 miles away from the control station in Houston, a giant rocket more than 300 feet tall, the length of this football field, made of new metal alloys, some of which have not yet been invented, capable of standing heat and stresses several times more than have ever been experienced, fitted together with a precision better than the finest watch, carrying all the equipment needed for propulsion, guidance, control, communications, food and survival, on an untried mission, to an unknown celestial body, and then return it safely to earth, re-entering the atmosphere at speeds of over 25,000 miles per hour, causing heat about half that of the temperature of the sun–almost as hot as it is here today–and do all this, and do it right, and do it first before this decade is out–then we must be bold.

I’m the one who is doing all the work, so we just want you to stay cool for a minute. [laughter]

On Sept. 12, 1962, President John F. Kennedy tells a crowd of about 40,000 at Rice University Stadium in Houston, "We intend to become the world's leading spacefaring nation." Photo: NASA / NASA

Photo: NASA

On Sept. 12, 1962, President John F. Kennedy tells a crowd of about 40,000 at Rice University Stadium in Houston, “We intend to become the world’s leading spacefaring nation.”

However, I think we’re going to do it, and I think that we must pay what needs to be paid. I don’t think we ought to waste any money, but I think we ought to do the job. And this will be done in the decade of the sixties. It may be done while some of you are still here at school at this college and university. It will be done during the terms of office of some of the people who sit here on this platform. But it will be done. And it will be done before the end of this decade.

I am delighted that this university is playing a part in putting a man on the moon as part of a great national effort of the United States of America.

Many years ago the great British explorer George Mallory, who was to die on Mount Everest, was asked why did he want to climb it. He said, “Because it is there.”

Well, space is there, and we’re going to climb it, and the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there. And, therefore, as we set sail, we ask God’s blessing on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked.

Thank you.”

The East Fishkill, NY UFO Incident

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Dateline: New York’s Hudson Valley / Early Summer, 1987
Reported By: “Speakin’ Deacon”

It was a spectacular early summer evening, dry and cool. We had just completed play on the softball fields of Armonk, NY in the shadows of IBM’s World Headquarters, where ourTelephonics Team had managed to lose yet another close game. Affectionately nicknamed
“The One Ton Infield” due to the girth of our 1st & 3 rd Basemen, the team’s custom, was to celebrate wins (and losses) with a cold case of Coors Silver Bullets immediately following each game. After the usual array of our heroic play stories and dirty jokes had run their
course for another week, we packed up our equipment (and our empties) and we headed for home.

My trek home could usually be completed in 45 minutes to one hour depending on traffic. Many of us worked in an around the suburbs of New York City, but because of the prohibitively high cost of living there, we lived further north in Dutchess County, NY nestled in the cozy environs of the Hudson Valley. Life was simple, less congested and less sophisticated in Dutchess County than were the lives of our neighbors to the south in Westchester County. The air that we breathed was clean and fresh and on this night’s trek home, perfectly clear.

As I came upon the intersection of Interstate 84 with the Taconic State Parkway, a set of bright lights just above the Taconic Mountains to the south of me, caught my eye. The odd
thing about this sight was that these lights seemed to be just floating above the mountains. Whatever the object, it was in no apparent rush to get to wherever it was going. I slowed down to keep an eye on the object(s) now that it had captured my attention.

As I proceeded along the southern border of Dutchess County on Interstate 84, I thought about what I was watching and thought about all the possibilities. Could it be several helicopters, small planes perhaps, or something new and different being tested out of
Stewart Air Force Base on the other side of the Hudson River ? Only time would tell, so out of curiosity, I pulled my car off to the shoulder of the Interstate to wait for whatever it was to float over me.

It so happened that the spot where I so fortunately chose to pull over was directly in front of IBM’s East Fishkill Facilities. IBM had been manufacturing microprocessors there for awhile and they had a major presence in that part of Dutchess County. Had I continued
to drive a little further down I-84, I could have pulled on to the shoulder of the highway in front of Downstate Correctional Institute, home to such famous murderers as Robert Chambers, the Preppy Murderer. Had I stopped there and looked across the Interstate, I might have seen the object(s) floating over Mattewan State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, home to such famous misanthropes as Robert Garrow, a serial killer who murdered
4 people that were camping in the Adirondack Mountains. He would escape from Mattewan after feigning paralysis and be found in the woods a short distance from the prison and filled with lead when the police came upon him. Mattewan also hosted Lizzie Halliday, a
serial killer who murdered 4 including one of the nurses at Mattewan. Other notables included Valerie Solanas who attempted to murder Andy Warhol, and George Meteskey, New York City’s “Mad Bomber”.

I waited outside my car just watching the lights. I could see that the object was headed in my general direction floating slowly towards the IBM facility. The lights got larger as it proceeded towards me but I could not tell it there was a single object or 3 objects (as there were 3 lights) until it drifted directly over me. It was then that I realized that this craft was a single craft. The three lights were positioned in a triangular shape on the bottom of the craft. The reason that I can state with certainty that this was a single craft is because though it was a perfectly clear starlit night, one could look straight up
from beneath the craft and not see the stars or anything else through the bottom of the vehicle.

The craft seemed to just pause there for a few minutes with me underneath it seemingly not paying me any attention at all. The craft was perfectly silent. There was no noise being made from any sort of propulsion system. It was truly an amazing thing to witness. I did
not feel any sort of fear just more of a sense of wonder as I pondered what this was. Was this a new American made product that was being tested? After all, Ronaldus Magnus was our President and he had been threatening to develop “Star Wars” technology to bring about the end of the Cold War with the Soviets. Or could it be that I was witnessing something from Deep Space carrying a team of Aliens that Sigourney Weaver’s character “Ripley” should be engaging?

I did not understand at that time what the future could bring. Here we are 33 years later with numerous sightings and various types of UFOs being followed and in some cases being pursued and engaged by the Russians and Chinese with devastating consequences for those pilots. Can it be a coincidental that Donaldus Magnus has prevailed upon Congress for the funds to create Space Force?