63 years after John F. Kennedy’s ‘we choose to go to the moon’ speech, NASA’s Artemis program plans to put humans back on the lunar surface

63 years after John F. Kennedy’s ‘we choose to go to the moon’ speech, NASA’s Artemis program plans to put humans back on the lunar surface

President Kennedy delivers his 'Race for Space' speech at Rice University in Houston.  Texas, September 12, 1962.

President Kennedy addressing a crowd at Rice University Stadium in Houston on September 12, 1962.CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

  • In 1962, President John F. Kennedy delivered his famous “Moon Speech” at Rice University in Texas.

  • With the Artemis missions, NASA plans to land astronauts on the Moon for the first time since 1972.

  • Artemis I is the first step: an uncrewed test flight scheduled to launch on August 29.

On September 12, 1962, President John F. Kennedy told 40,000 people at Rice University’s football stadium that by the end of the decade, the United States would bring astronauts to the Moon.

“But why, some say, the moon?” he posed for the crowd. “Why choose that as our goal? And they might ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly across the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas? We chose to go to the moon. We chose to go to the moon this decade. and doing the other things, not because they’re easy, but because they’re hard.”

In the 60 years since Kennedy’s speech, space exploration has helped us discover a lot about the cosmos and humanity’s place within it.

As NASA prepares to lift off the Artemis 1 mission on August 29, the space agency is poised to return to the Moon for the first time in half a century — this time to stay.

President John F. Kennedy addressing a crowd at Rice University Stadium in Houston reaffirming his support for the American space program, including the landing of a man on the moon.

“We chose to go to the moon this decade and do other things, not because they’re easy, but because they’re difficult,” Kennedy told the crowd.NASA

Kennedy delivered the iconic speech amid a fierce space race with the Soviet Union; It had been a year since the USSR’s feat of putting the first person, Yuri Gagarin, into space in 1961.

In the speech, Kennedy wanted to explain to the nation why the Apollo program was such a high priority. He emphasized that humanity’s charge in space is a given, and that the world would be better off with the US leading that charge.

“For the eyes of the world now look to space, to the moon and to the planets beyond, and we swear that we will not see it ruled by a hostile banner of conquest, but by a banner of freedom and peace,” he said. said. “We swear that we will not see space filled with weapons of mass destruction, but with instruments of knowledge and understanding.”

Just seven years after Kennedy’s speech at Rice University, on July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong descended from the Lunar Module ladder and entered the surface of the Moon.

Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first person to set foot on the Moon, stands near the Lunar Module (LM)

Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first person to set foot on the Moon, stands near the Lunar Module in July 1969.NASA

NASA landed five more missions to the moon, with the last of them – Apollo 17 – landing in 1972. And while there have been no moon boots since then, the space agency has continued to send humans into space.

Skylab, the first US-operated outpost in space, was launched into Earth orbit on May 14, 1973. Observations of the Sun were one of the lab’s major accomplishments in orbit, according to NASA. It spent six years orbiting Earth until its decaying orbit caused it to re-enter the atmosphere, scattering debris over the Indian Ocean and parts of Australia.

Between 1981 and July 2011, NASA’s space shuttle fleet – Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavor – performed 135 missions, taking more than 350 astronauts into space.

And since November 2, 2000, humanity has had a continuous presence on the International Space Station.

ISS in 2022.

The International Space Station in 2022.NASA

In an attempt to return astronauts to the lunar surface, NASA spent 17 years and an estimated $50 billion developing the Space Launch System and its Orion spacecraft.

The shiny new SLS rocket is taller than the Statue of Liberty at 23 stories, with the spacecraft attached to the top. Four car-sized engines and two rocket boosters should give enough thrust to push Orion across the moon – farther than any spacecraft built for humans has ever flown. That’s where NASA’s first SLS mission, called Artemis I, is being taken.

When it launches on August 29, the SLS rocket is expected to take the Orion spacecraft on a trajectory to circle the moon and return to Earth.

illustration shows space launch system orange rocket taking off

An illustration of the Space Launch System taking off from the launch pad at Cape Canaveral, Florida.NASA

There will be no people on board, but if the spacecraft successfully completes its mission, NASA plans to put astronauts in the Orion module for another trip around the moon and then land them on the lunar surface in 2025.

“This is now the Artemis generation,” Bill Nelson, NASA administrator, said at an Aug. 3 press conference. “We were in the Apollo generation, but this is a new generation, this is a new kind of astronaut. And for all of us who look up to the moon, dreaming of the day when humanity returns to the lunar surface, folks, we are here. We are going back and this journey, our journey, begins with Artemis I.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.