The President who pledged to land a person on the Moon by the end of the last decade wasn’t keen about space exploration.
“I’m not that focused on the space,” John F Kennedy informed the head of Nasa, James Webb, in a personal assembly at the White House in 1962. “I feel it’s good; I feel we must find out about it, we’re able to spend cheap amounts of cash however we’re speaking about these unbelievable expenditures which wreck our budget.”
The conversation, launched by the John F Kennedy Presidential Library, reveals the President’s true motivations: to beat the Soviet Union.
“In my view, to do it in this time or vogue is as a result of we hope to beat them,” he states, “and demonstrate that starting behind, as we did by a couple of years, by God, we passed them.”
However, the price of a successful space race could be huge.
The overall estimated price of the Apollo program got here to around $25bn, equal to $175bn (£140bn) as we speak. In 1965, Nasa funding peaked at some 5% of government spending, at present, it’s a tenth of that.
These billions paid for the rockets, spacecraft, computers, ground control and the 400,000 or so people needed to land just 12 men on the Moon.