Kennedy’s genuine Apollo 11 aims are revealed in newly discovered archives.
THE 1969 MOON LANDING is still regarded as one of humanity’s greatest achievements, but newly discovered data, according to a researcher, “shed light” on former US President John F. Kennedy’s genuine goals.
Today is the 52nd anniversary of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins blasting off from the Kennedy Space Center for their Apollo 11 mission to the Moon. President John F. Kennedy had hoped to land a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s, and their achievement put an end to a heated Space Race with the Soviet Union. Kennedy had misgivings about the Apollo Project after spending more than $25 billion (£18 billion) on the “most ambitious space program in national history,” according to previously unearthed records from a meeting in the Oval Office in 1963.
Teasel Muir-Harmony, author and curator of the Smithsonian’s Apollo collection, acquired records from the US Information Agency (USIA) that appear to explain why he went after it.
Kennedy “didn’t suggest it for the sake of science,” she maintains, but rather as a “demonstration of what American business was capable of and a demonstration of American principles.”
Dr. Muir-book, Harmony’s “Operation Moonglow: A Political History of Project Apollo,” was written after she combed through troves of government papers in an attempt to “shed a light on the little-known role” that propaganda and foreign relations played.
The notion of putting a man on the moon was first envisaged by President Dwight D. Eisenhower as a way to “contain Communism, align the world with the US, and strengthen up America’s power.”
Kennedy, on the other hand, sensed an opportunity when he took office in 1961.
Kennedy was “a man who, maybe better than any other president in our history, knew how foreign thought functioned, what moulded it, what molded it, and how to influence it,” according to USIA Acting Director Donald Wilson.
That meant, according to reports, doing things differently than the USSR.
“The Soviet Union was relatively opaque about what they were releasing, when they were launching it, and their technology,” Dr Muir-Harmony explained.
“The United States pursued a different approach, inviting journalists to cover launches and dispatching spacecraft all across the world.”
Freedom 7, the capsule that launched the first American into space, was on display in Paris and Rome in 1961, attracting over a million people.
Dr. “Brinkwire Summary News” includes a USIA report to Congress.