As NASA as soon as once more prepares to set sail “on essentially the most hazardous and harmful and best journey” on which humanity has ever embarked, the area company’s leaders returned to the positioning the place 60 years in the past, to the day, President John F. Kennedy reconfirmed that “we select to go to the moon.”
NASA Administrator Invoice Nelson joined different program officers at Rice College in Houston on Monday (Sept. 12) to mark the 60th anniversary of Kennedy’s speech (opens in new tab), which rallied the nation to land astronauts on the moon. Kennedy first set the objective throughout an deal with to Congress in Could 1961 and, with the speech at Rice, it led to the six Apollo lunar touchdown missions between 1969 and 1972.
“All through America’s story, there are defining days. Days when minds change, hearts fill and imaginations soar. Days when visions remodeled the trajectory of the American story, which is our story, and a kind of days occurred 60 years in the past,” mentioned Nelson, addressing an viewers of invited visitors, NASA alumni and 1000’s of Houston-area college students at Rice Stadium. “On that day 60 years in the past, seven well-known phrases that you have heard repeated carried throughout this stadium and throughout the nation: We select to go to the moon.”
“The area program [was] propelled to the forefront of tradition and consciousness. It galvanized a historic effort that we are actually the stewards of,” he mentioned.
Associated: NASA’s Apollo moon missions in pictures
Whereas trying again, Nelson additionally drew parallels to the challenges NASA now faces because it nears the launch of the Artemis 1 mission, an uncrewed take a look at flight that’s meant to clear the way in which for sending a brand new technology of astronauts to circle the moon and land at the lunar south pole (opens in new tab).
“Now the Artemis technology is about to go away fairly a mark,” mentioned Nelson. “This technology — all of you, college students from throughout America, college students all through the world — this technology will select to go to Mars, and that journey begins proper now with humanity’s return to the moon.”
“Clearly, we had all hoped that Artemis 1 would already be on the way (opens in new tab) to the moon,” he mentioned. “However the NASA crew has been working across the clock, and their resolve and perseverance are unmatched. I’ve full religion on this crew and the mission. We are going to launch once we are prepared, however mark my phrases: We’re going.”
Becoming a member of Nelson for the commemoration was NASA affiliate administrator Bob Cabana, Johnson Space Center director Vanessa Wyche, astronauts Shannon Walker and Jean-Loup Chrétien, Rice College president Reggie DesRoches and Houston’s youth poet laureate Avalon Hogans. David Alexander, the director of the Rice Area Institute, served because the grasp of ceremonies.
Associated: President John F. Kennedy’s NASA legacy
“At this time is a day to replicate on how far we’ve got come and to reaffirm our dedication to the exploration of area for the advantage of all,” mentioned Kjell Lindgren, who together with his Expedition 67 crewmates joined the celebration via a video despatched down from the International Space Station. “The Apollo program was an awe-inspiring instance of what we’re able to once we commit our abilities and assets to a posh objective. We’re proud to proceed that daring custom right this moment. “
Congress members Eddie Bernice Johnson, Brian Babin, Al Inexperienced, Sylvia Garcia and Lizzie Fletcher, in addition to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, additionally attended and spoke on the occasion. Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz delivered recorded remarks by video.
Main as much as and thru Monday’s occasion, NASA and a variety of its trade companions arrange reveals at Rice to showcase the state of area exploration six a long time after JFK’s speech. Among the many firms that took half had been Advert Astra Rocket, Axiom Area, Boeing, Collins Aerospace, Intuitive Machines and Jacobs.
Along with spurring on the space race with the previous Soviet Union, JFK’s speech prompted Rice College to type a devoted area science division, the primary in any educational establishment.
“With seven phrases, ‘we select to go to the moon,’ President Kennedy modified the course of human historical past and cemented Rice College’s place within the lore of America’s area program,” mentioned DesRoches. “By the point Apollo 11 landed, a number of dozen graduate college students and numerous undergraduates had helped construct devices that made historic breakthroughs and stay on the floor of the moon right this moment.”
Rice College’s soccer crew, the Owls, commemorated the anniversary with a particular uniform at its opening dwelling recreation on Saturday. Created in partnership with NASA and Adidas, the uniform featured excerpts of JFK’s “We Select to Go” speech on its shoulder and a customized Rice area brand that represented the flight path from Earth to area. (Rice gained the sport, beating McNeese State 52-10.)
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