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  Photo of the week 474 (November 23, 2013)

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Author Topic:   Photo of the week 474 (November 23, 2013)
heng44
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posted 11-23-2013 03:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for heng44   Click Here to Email heng44     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

President John F. Kennedy prepares to enter a car after a visit to Cape Canaveral on November 16, 1963. He was briefed on the unmanned SA-5 mission, a test of the Saturn 1 launch vehicle due to fly in January. Kennedy promised to come back for the launch, but he never made it because he was assassinated in Dallas six days later.

garymilgrom
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posted 11-23-2013 06:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very timely Ed. Thanks.

Greggy_D
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posted 11-23-2013 08:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Fantastic picture, Ed. Thanks for posting.

randy
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posted 11-23-2013 02:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for randy   Click Here to Email randy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Rest in Peace, Mr. President.

ea757grrl
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posted 11-23-2013 03:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ea757grrl   Click Here to Email ea757grrl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On the afternoon of Nov. 22, 1963, as the networks held the air while Air Force One flew back to Andrews Air Force Base, NBC's Peter Hackes gave a report on what the death of President Kennedy might mean for the nation's science efforts and the space program. Hackes related an anecdote that while Kennedy was inspecting a Mercury spacecraft — and it may have been while he was looking at Friendship 7 after Glenn's flight — in the midst of his fascination, he mused aloud that if things had been a little different, he might have enjoyed flying one himself.

That story — and pictures like these — are how I'd like to remember President Kennedy. It's a very appropriate selection for this week, and I thank you for it, Ed.

robsouth
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posted 11-23-2013 03:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Would President Kennedy definitely have been at the launch?

mach3valkyrie
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posted 11-23-2013 03:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mach3valkyrie   Click Here to Email mach3valkyrie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Barring some national crisis, I believe he would have attended the SA-5 launch. He was very interested in the U.S. developing larger boosters than the Soviets had at that time.

Great photo and very appropriate.

Kite
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posted 11-23-2013 04:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kite     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Could not have been a better subject for this week, thanks Ed. Possibly THE person most responsible for getting to the Moon. For anyone interested I highly recommend reading 'John F. Kennedy and The Race To the Moon' by John M. Logsdon.

. RIP

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-23-2013 06:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Kite:
Possibly THE person most responsible for getting to the Moon.
I would agree, but only so much in the role he played in spirit, posthumously.

Had Kennedy lived, it is questionable whether Apollo would have continued, given his own quiet efforts to curtail the program.

robsouth
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posted 11-23-2013 06:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Did any of the astronauts attend President Kennedy's funeral?

GoesTo11
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posted 11-23-2013 07:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert's post addresses an important point.

I certainly don't wish to deride the significance of what was truly a national tragedy, but it seems to me that there is a general consensus today among historians that Lyndon Johnson drove the space program to the Moon out of both a sense of responsibility to the legacy of his predecessor...and if you're more cynical, as a distraction from Vietnam. I *think* it was Tom Wolfe quoting LBJ: "Thank God I've still got my astronauts."

There's a not-inconsequential school of thought among historians who believe that if JFK had lived and been re-elected, he would have pulled the plug on Apollo himself.

Ronpur
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posted 11-23-2013 09:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ronpur   Click Here to Email Ronpur     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Another possibility... going together with the Soviets instead of cancelling it. I seem to remember reading that as a possibility instead of cancelling.

Also, if this visit did change his mind about cancelling Apollo and inspired him to continue, we will never know.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-23-2013 09:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The USSR turned down Kennedy's proposal to jointly fly to the moon three times. While it is possible Khrushchev could have had a change of heart, it is not likely.

And it seems equally unlikely that JFK would suddenly grow interested in Apollo as anything other than a political tool after a visit to the cape. Keep in mind, it was his third trip there.

Grounded!
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posted 11-23-2013 10:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Grounded!   Click Here to Email Grounded!     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
After the missile crisis and bay of pigs events, I don't think Khrushchev would have worked with Kennedy on any project, but then again, who knows how a politician's mind works.

Here's a hypothetical scenario...

Kennedy is not assassinated. He realizes the mistakes of our involvement in Vietnam and pulls us out of there. Happy days are here again... the public embraces Apollo and the "race to the moon" (he did after-all make a great speech!). We beat the Soviets to the moon anyways.

Great picture Ed!

Ronpur
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posted 11-23-2013 11:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ronpur   Click Here to Email Ronpur     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You're right. The USSR would never have entered into a joint mission at this point, not when they were winning.

J.L
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posted 11-24-2013 12:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for J.L   Click Here to Email J.L     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ed, correct me if I am wrong. This photo is a great example of the kind of material that is sitting in storage rotting away.

I believe I picked this up about 10 years ago from the daughter of a longtime KSC Public Affairs employee. The image was scanned from a damaged 4x5 color negative, and was cleaned up to what you see now. This and other negatives and transparencies had been out in a backyard shed for who knows how many years.

Yes, your historic space image team at work.

heng44
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posted 11-24-2013 02:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for heng44   Click Here to Email heng44     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, J.L. is correct. He sent it to me many years ago and I restored it to look like new. J.L. is a master at finding treasures like this...

moorouge
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posted 11-24-2013 02:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by GoesTo11:
...it seems to me that there is a general consensus today among historians that Lyndon Johnson drove the space program to the Moon
I have to agree. It was Johnson who deserves the credit for getting America to the Moon — and James Webb.

Initially, Kennedy's election did not auger well for NASA and its burgeoning manned space efforts. A committee under Jerome Wiesner issued a report that included the words "We should stop advertising Mercury as our major objective in space activities. Indeed, we should make an effort to diminish the significance of this programme."

Since Kennedy then made Wiesner his Special Assistant, morale amongst those keen to go to the Moon sank almost out of sight. This, in a perverse way, saved Apollo.

The Administrator of NASA is a political appointment. With the Wiesner Report hanging over its head, no scientist wanted the job. More by luck than judgement, eventually the choice fell, not on a scientist, but on an extremely capable politician-manager called James E. Webb. It is said that he was more than a match for Johnson when it came to deviousness, just the quality required in the current climate.

The second stroke of fortune was that the new Vice President opposed the Kennedy plan to disband the National Aeronautics and Space Council. In doing so, Johnson became its Chairman, and NASA gained an enthusiastic ally in Washington, for Johnson was deeply fascinated by space flight and wasn't about to let a little matter like the Wiesner Report stop him.

Johnson and Webb were both keen advocates of an extended manned involvement in space and both had the political know how of how to achieve their goals.

One other point is worth remembering. Kennedy, had he lived, was by no means certain of winning a second term as President. He was not popular in his own party, in fact his percentage vote was by far the lowest of all the Democratic candidates in the 1960 election. So, had the Republicans won the 1964 election - what price Apollo then?

Kite
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posted 11-24-2013 03:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kite     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
I would agree, but only so much in the role he played in spirit, posthumously.
I couldn't agree with you more Robert, I think you are spot on in your reply to me.

The point is that JFK pulled the trigger on the project to really get it going although as you say had he lived he might well have pulled the plug on it as well.

Tom
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posted 11-24-2013 07:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In addition to President Kennedy's visit to the Cape in November 1963, the President and Vice President made a trip to MSFC on September 11, 1962 to witness the test firing of the Saturn 1 (4) first stage. To accommodate the President's schedule, the firing took place in the morning.

GoesTo11
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posted 11-24-2013 09:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Whatever your perspective, it's fascinating to contemplate the role the JFK mythology played in getting Americans to the moon.

It's one more not-happening-again factor in the historically unique intersection of political, technological, economic, and energetically visionary drivers that made Apollo possible.

J.L
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posted 11-24-2013 01:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for J.L   Click Here to Email J.L     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by heng44:
Yes, J.L. is correct. He sent it to me many years ago and I restored it to look like new. J.L. is a master at finding treasures like this...
Safe to assume that this is the same car our friend Farris Rookstool was with a few days ago in Dallas.

Interesting to think that the car JFK used to tour the Cape is still around, but most of what he saw at the Cape that day is gone now.

Lou Chinal
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posted 11-24-2013 02:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It has been reported several times that Wiesner said to Kennedy privately Apollo will never work. Politically it was just too big of a risk.

robsouth
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posted 11-24-2013 06:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I believe the President gave a speech at the UN in September 63 asking for cooperation with the Soviets in Space. The Soviets didn't take up this offer and why should they, they were ahead in the space race.

Only that summer they had launched the joint flight of Vostok 5 and Vostok 6, the latter mission carrying the first woman into space. The Soviets had more powerful rockets, they had missions that lasted longer and time and time again they pulled off space spectaculars.

Apart from their lead in space, the Soviet hardware was not compatible with the US hardware. Cooperation would also mean that their failures and relatively simplistic spacecraft would be exposed.

America started the moon race to beat the Soviets. The question is, did the Soviets try to get to the moon because the US had forced them into the race? Or did they try to get to the moon because thats what they wanted to do, no matter what the US did?

If the first is true, then they would have cancelled their own moon program and denied ever aiming for the moon the moment the US cancelled Apollo. If the latter, this would have seen the Soviets leave the US behind even further. Would any US President have let that happen?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-24-2013 07:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by robsouth:
The Soviets didn't take up this offer and why should they, they were ahead in the space race.
Russia's status in the space race seemingly had little to do with the rejection of Kennedy's invitation.

As is now documented, Soviet military leaders initially feared that entering into a partnership with the U.S. would expose the weak state of their ICBM inventory, putting the USSR at a disadvantage in the Cold War.

But that concern aside, Khrushchev came close to accepting Kennedy's proposal for the very same reason that Kennedy put it forth: sharing the tremendous expense of the endeavor. According to his son, Khrushchev spoke openly about entering into a partnership with the U.S. for the purpose of a joint lunar mission. He said in October 1963:

We consider, with due attention to the proposal of the U.S. President, that it would be useful if the USSR and US pooled their efforts in exploring space for scientific purposes, specifically for arranging a joint flight to the moon. Would it not be fine if a Soviet man and an American or Soviet cosmonaut and an American woman flew to the moon? Of course it would.
Unfortunately, there was no follow up by the Soviets or Johnson after Kennedy's death.

(A discussion of this and more can be found in John Logsdon's "John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon".)

moorouge
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posted 11-25-2013 02:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by robsouth:
America started the moon race to beat the Soviets.
I remain unconvinced that this was either the sole or main reason for Apollo. It is simplistic and totally ignores the problems facing the new President in 1960.

First, one needs to understand the economic background to the 1960 presidential election. The US economy turned sharply downward in the summer of 1957 and reached its low point in the spring of 1958. Industrial production fell 14 percent, corporate profits plummeted 25 percent and unemployment rose to 7.5 percent. President Eisenhower did little to stimulate the economy because he worried more about inflation and not unemployment. Subsequently, in 1959 the economy realized a $12 billion deficit, a new record for a budget shortfall during peacetime.

As the 1960 presidential election campaign got under way, the 1960-1961 recession began. John F Kennedy’s 1960 campaign promise "to get America moving again" referred to the American economy. He wanted economic growth at an annual rate of 4-6 percent and unemployment at 4 percent. Kennedy knew that the economy was in big trouble so he sent congress an economic growth and recovery package consisting of twelve measures. They were an increase in the minimum wage from $1.00 to $1.25 per hour and an extension of the minimum wage to a larger pool of workers, an increase in unemployment compensation plus increased aid to children of unemployed workers, increase social security benefits to a larger pool of people, emergency relief for feed grain farmers, area redevelopment, vocational training for displaced workers, and federal funding for home building and slum eradication.

Kennedy hinted that economic reasons played a large part in the decision to go to the Moon in his May '61 announcement when he said, "It means a degree of dedication, organisation and discipline which has not always characterised... our efforts. It means we cannot afford undue work stoppages, inflated costs of materials or talent, wasteful inter-agency rivalries, or a high turnover of key personnel. (Everyone must give)... his personal pledge that this nation will move forward with full speed of freedom in the exciting adventure of space.

One should not forget that over 90% of the money spent on Apollo stayed on the ground, in universities, in research facilities and, most importantly, in the pockets of thousands of workers. From these pockets the money filtered down into the wider economy of the nation.

Kennedy faced a Congress that needed persuading to spend the money necessary to achieve his aims. What better way than to harness the fears generated by the Soviets and their space exploits and a unique set of circumstances that made it possible to sell the idea of a Moon landing as the means of realising his dreams for America?

On edit - a more interesting question is whether there would have been an Apollo without the Soviet space spectaculars? Would Congress have been persuaded to fund a Moon landing just as a means to get the American economy moving again? Shades of the HS2 debate currently in the UK!!

robsouth
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posted 11-25-2013 04:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have to disagree. The only reason a moon landing was chosen by President Kennedy was to beat the Soviets in space, it is as simple as that. Take away the Soviet space program in 1960/61 and there would be no Apollo. President Kennedy just wasn't that interested in space enough to have chosen a moon landing program without the need to be seen leading the way in space.

I agree that once the decision to aim for the moon had been made that other factors were used to push it forward but as Frank Borman put it, 'Apollo was just another battlefield in the Cold War, it was not primarily an answer to an economic problem. If economics and not beating the Soviets was a major factor in going to the moon, why did the program get cut just after Apollo 11 and then ended altogether just a couple of years later?

moorouge
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posted 11-25-2013 05:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by robsouth:
If economics and not beating the Soviets was a major factor in going to the moon, why did the program get cut just after Apollo 11 and then ended altogether just a couple of years later?
Vietnam. Also a lack of public support. Politicians are very sensitive to this.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-25-2013 11:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by moorouge:
I remain unconvinced that this was either the sole or main reason for Apollo. It is simplistic and totally ignores the problems facing the new President in 1960.
We've debated this subject before, and you are still choosing to ignore Kennedy's own behind-closed-doors remarks on the subject, which leave little room for interpretation.
...the fact that the Soviet Union has made this a test of the system. So that's why we're doing it.
It doesn't get much clearer than that, but to put an even finer point on it, Kennedy emphasizes that the cost of Apollo isn't worth the investment without the Soviets.
...we ought to be clear, otherwise we shouldn't be spending this kind of money because I'm not that interested in space...
Kennedy was a politician, so of course his public remarks would seek to justify the tremendous expense of Apollo as benefiting the economy but it is "simplistic" to assume these arguments were anything more than political spin.

moorouge
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posted 11-25-2013 12:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Equally Robert, remarks made in private can be made to justify a decision when the real reason lies elsewhere. Kennedy had to be aware that 'private' conversations were recorded and the contents likely to be made public. He had to be aware that Congress needed persuading and what better to harness the public mood about the space race. It doesn't negate the fact that in 1961 the US economy was in a mess and required a massive injection of federal funds for a cause Joe Public would endorse.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-25-2013 01:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by moorouge:
Kennedy had to be aware that 'private' conversations were recorded and the contents likely to be made public.
You may be misunderstanding the nature of the recordings. They were Kennedy's own, part of the official White House record, which he knew at the time would not be made public until many years after his presidency was over.

(The transcript of the recordings wasn't released until 2001; the audio followed 10 years later in 2011.)

moorouge
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posted 11-26-2013 02:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Nice try Robert. The quotes you make are taken from a 21 Novemeber 1962 meeting - over a year after the decision to go to the Moon.

The Kennedy Library summary of this meeting says this about the exchanges -

At the meeting, the President and his staff were discussing a supplemental budget for NASA and the effect the increased money would have on expediting the scheduled orbital flights and the Apollo Space Program. There is a disagreement among the staff over whether or not the increased budget will change the target dates for the Apollo Program, including the lunar landing scheduled for 1967.

James Webb, Administrator of NASA, and Robert Seamans, Deputy Administrator for NASA, explain to the President that they do not believe that the timetable for Apollo can be expedited. NASA’s Apollo Space Program sought to develop man’s capability to work in the lunar environment, to carry out a program of scientific exploration of the moon, and to establish the technology to meet other national interests in space.

In the course of the discussion, an animated exchange between the President and Webb took place over the priority of the lunar landing program. Webb, in a spirited and fearless exchange with President Kennedy, argued that the lunar program was “one” of the top priority programs of NASA. The President wanted it made clear that it was “the” priority program — not only for NASA but for the entire government — with the desired result being that the United States would beat the Russians to the moon.

It would seem that your quotes have more to do with NASA priorities rather than actually going to the Moon.

astro-nut
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posted 12-01-2013 10:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for astro-nut   Click Here to Email astro-nut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for posting an appropriate photo Ed.

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