Broadcast 1509 (Special Edition)

11 Feb 2011 Dr. John Logsdon
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Guest: Dr. John Logsdon. Topics: President Kennedy and our Moon program, space policy today. Please note that you are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Dr. Logsdon's book, "John F. Kennedy And The Race To The Moon" is available on the OGLF Amazon partner's page, www.amazon.com/dp/023011010X?tag=onegialeafou-20. If you buy the book through this URL, Amazon contributes to The Space Show/OGLF. During our first segment, we talked about JFK and his interest in space prior to his becoming president. As you will hear, he did not have much of a space interest and as president, JFK saw space as a tool to be used in support of our national policy. There was no indication that he saw space in connection with saving humanity or in the ways that were projected by science fiction and pop culture of the day. We learned that JFK appointed LBJ to be the lead on space policy for his administration. We then talked about Kennedy's main advisors and their thoughts on space. Of the group discussed, only Ted Sorensen was enthusiastic about the developing space program. Toward the end of the first segment, our caller asked about being able to change the paradigm of NASA away from winning the cold war to a modern NASA capable of taking us into the future. Don't miss what Dr. Logsdon had to say about this. In our second segment, Dr. Logsdon explained why he wrote the book and he also mentioned several of his public appearances across the country. If he is speaking near you, I strongly suggest you go hear him. In this segment, we discussed the fact that Kennedy always had as his main focus to use space as a tool of policy and to seek USSR cooperation with the US in going to the Moon together. In May 1961 at a meeting with Khrushchev in Vienna, Khrushchev rejected the cooperation idea. In 1962, there were top level discussions on speeding up our Moon program but eventually the decision was made to stay the course. Later in this segment, I asked our guest about lessons learned from Apollo that were applicable today. Don't miss this discussion. Toward the end of this segment, questions about commercializing space came up, especially in the context of today's space policy. In our third segment, we talked about JFK's final words on space and his visit to key space centers a week before his untimely death. We then talked about the impact of Apollo and our guest suggested that in terms of the evolution of our space program, the impact had been a negative. He suggested that the failure after Apollo was actually the failure to adjust to the post Apollo period. The Apollo program was not a failure. As we moved to the final minutes of our discussion, we talked about how our space program was in transition and we addressed space workforce issues given this period of change. If you have a comment or questions for Dr. John Logsdon, post it on The Space Show blog. You can also email Dr. Logsdon at logsdon@gwu.edu.

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