President John F. Kennedy in his historic message to a joint session of the Congress, on May 25, 1961 declared, "...I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth." This goal was achieved when astronaut Neil A. Armstrong became the first human to set foot upon the Moon at 10:56 p.m. EDT, July 20, 1969. Shown in the background are, (left) Vice President Lyndon Johnson, and (right) Speaker of the House Sam T. Rayburn.
A briefing is given by Major Rocco Petrone to President John F. Kennedy during a tour of Blockhouse 34 at the Cape Canaveral Missile Test Annex.
President John F. Kennedy (left), John Glenn and General Leighton I. Davis ride together during a parade in Cocoa Beach, Florida after Glenn's historic first U.S. human orbital spacefight.
Former President John F. Kennedy presents Dr. Robert R. Gilruth Director of the Manned Spacecraft Center, Houston, Texas with the Medal for Distinguished Federal Civil Service. The ceremony took place on the White House Lawn. In attendance were second from left to right: Astronaut Alan Sheppard, Astronaut John Glenn, Dr. Robert R. Gilruth, NASA Administrator James Webb, President John F. Kennedy.
NASA Administrator James E. Webb (center) cites the space achievements of the Project Mercury Astronauts who received the 1963 Collier Trophy Award in a ceremony held at the White House on October 10, 1963. President John F. Kennedy (left) and Vice President Lyndon Johnson accompanied Webb at the ceremony. Five of the Mercury Seven astronauts are visible in the row behind James Webb. They are (starting from JFK's left): Alan Shepard, Donald "Deke" Slayton, John Glenn, Virgil "Gus" Grissom, and Scott Carpenter.
Second cosmonaut German Titov (right) appears with NASA astronaut John Glenn and President John Kennedy at the White House in 1962. Titov was in Washington to give his account of the Vostok 2 spaceflight to the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR). The twenty-five-year-old Titov was the youngest person to ever go into space - a record that still stands to this day.
Dr. William H. Pickering, (center) director of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, presents a model of a Mariner spacecraft to President John F.Kennedy, (right) in 1961. NASA Administrator James Webb is standing directly behind the model.
Astronaut John Glenn, Jr. is honored by President John F. Kennedy after his historical first manned orbital flight. The ceremony is being held at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Langley, Virginia. The Center moved to Houston, Texas later that year, where it continues to reside.
President John F. Kennedy visited Marshall Space Flight Center on September 11, 1962. Here President Kennedy and Dr. Wernher von Braun, MSFC Director, tour one of the laboratories.
Dr. Wernher von Braun explains the Saturn Launch System to President John F. Kennedy. NASA Deputy Administrator Robert Seamans is to the left of von Braun.
President John F. Kennedy congratulates astronaut Alan B. Shepard, Jr., the first American in space, on his historic May 5th, 1961 ride in the Freedom 7 spacecraft and presents him with the NASA Distinguished Service Award. The ceremony took place on the White House lawn. Shepard's wife, Louise (left in white dress and hat), and his mother were in attendance as well as the other six Mercury astronauts and NASA officals, some visible in the background.
Dr. George Mueller gives Saturn V orientation to President John F. Kennedy and officals in Blockhouse 37. Front row, left to right: George Low, Dr. Kurt Debus, Dr. Robert Seamans, James Webb, President Kennedy, Dr. Hugh Dryden, Dr. Wernher von Braun, General Leighten Davis, and Senator George Smathers.
President Kennedy speaks before a crowd of 35,000 people at Rice University in the football field. The following are excerpts from his speech. " ... We set sail on his new sea because there is a new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people.
... Whether it will become a force for good or ill depends on man, and only if the United States occupies a position of pre-eminence can we help decide whether this new ocean will be a sea of peace or a new terrifying theater of war. But I do say space can be explored and mastered without feeding the fires of war, without repeating the mistakes that man has made with extending his writ around this globe of ours.
...There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation may never come again. But why, some say the Moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask, why climb the highest mountian? Why - 35 years ago - why fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas? We choose to go to the Moon, we choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one in which we intend to win, and the others too."
Astronaut John H. Glenn, Jr., gives United States President John F. Kennedy a quick run-down on the display of survival gear. The Chief Executive took a quick tour of a dozen NASA displays set up for him after the classified briefing.
President John F. Kennedy shakes hands with Astronaut John H. Glenn Jr. after presenting him with the NASA Distinguished Service Award. Glenn's wife stands behind him.