New FAA Commercial Space Head Promises Transparency With Industry

The new leader of the commercial space transportation office within the Federal Aviation Administration pledged to be open and “over-communicate” with industry as it works on new regulatory proposals.

In his first public speech since becoming the FAA associate administrator for commercial space transportation last month, Wayne Monteith confirmed that the five-week partial government shutdown that ended Jan. 25 delayed the release of proposed rules to reform licensing of commercial launches and reentries.

Those proposed rules, which would cover such topics as the ability of a single launch license to cover launches from multiple sites, had a Feb. 1 deadline for release set in Space Policy Directive 2 issued last May. “Thanks to the shutdown, we are delayed,” he said in a Feb. 12 speech at the Commercial Space Transportation Conference here. “I am confident it will be out towards the end of next month.”

Read more at: Spacenews

NASA Safety Panel Urges Vigilance As U.S. Resumes Human Space Launches

NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) is urging NASA to “maintain vigilance” as it prepares to resume launching astronauts into space.  NASA has not been able to launch people into space since the final space shuttle mission in 2011.  The first flights of two new “commercial crew” space transportation systems, owned and operated by SpaceX and Boeing, are scheduled for this year with NASA as their customer. NASA is also building its own system, SLS/Orion, to go beyond low Earth orbit (LEO) in the next several years.

The schedules for the commercial crew and SLS/Orion systems have slipped repeatedly.  ASAP is keeping a close eye to make sure that any desire to get those systems off the ground does not negatively impact safety.

Read more at: Spacepolicy online

FAA Certificate Offers New Details On Stratolaunch’s Plans For Test Flights Of World’s Largest Aircraft

The Federal Aviation Administration has cleared the world’s largest airplane for takeoff — but it’s not yet clear exactly when Stratolaunch, the aerospace venture founded by the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, will put the plane in the air.

Stratolaunch’s unique aircraft, code-named Roc, measures 385 feet from wingtip to wingtip, longer than three Boeing 737s lined up end to end. The company hopes to win full FAA certification for the Roc and use it for airborne rocket launches as soon as next year.

Scaled Composites, the California-based company that built the Roc for Stratolaunch, told the FAA last August that the aircraft was ready for inspection, according to filings obtained by GeekWire.

Read more at: Geekwire

After 15 Years, The Mars Opportunity Rover’s Mission Has Ended

It’s time to say goodbye to Opportunity. The Mars rover’s team made its last attempt to contact Opportunity on Tuesday night, and it went unanswered. On Wednesday, NASA confirmed that the mission is over.

The agency held a news conference to detail the results of recovery efforts since a dust storm encircled Mars last year. “For more than a decade, Opportunity has been an icon in the field of planetary exploration, teaching us about Mars’ ancient past as a wet, potentially habitable planet and revealing uncharted Martian landscapes,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.

Read more at: CNN

NASA Twin Astronauts Study Finds No Flashing Red Lights For Long Spaceflight

Long-duration spaceflight does weird things to the human body, even at the molecular level, but so far there’s no reason to think humans couldn’t survive a two-and-a-half-year round-trip journey to Mars. That was the bottom-line message Friday from a NASA official and two scientists as they revealed more results from the agency’s “Twins Study,” which examined physiological changes in astronaut Scott Kelly during his nearly year-long sojourn in space while his twin brother, Mark Kelly, stayed on Earth.

The full report has not yet been published, but reporters got a summary at a news conference at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, in Washington. Among the highlights: Scott Kelly’s bloodwork showed that his immune system quickly ramped up when he went into space, as if, at the cellular level, his body felt under attack.

Read more at: Washington Post

This Is NASA’s Plan to Land Astronauts on the Moon in 2028 with Commercial Vehicles

NASA really wants to land astronauts on the moon in 2028. But to do that, the agency is looking to commercial space companies to build the landers, space tugs and refueling stations required to make a moon exploration effort that lasts.

“This time, when we go to the moon we’re going to stay,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told a roomful of space industry representatives here Thursday (Feb. 14).  “So, we’re not going back to the moon to leave flags and footprints and then not go back for another 50 years. We’re going to go sustainably. To stay. With landers and robots and rovers — and humans.”

Read more at:

Nasa Wants To Move Fast, Sustainably, On Lunar Exploration

Top NASA officials stressed today that the agency wants to move fast in implementing the Trump Administration’s Space Policy Directive-1 (SPD-1) to return astronauts to the lunar surface, but also sustainably with commercial and international partners.  A first step is the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative to put instruments on commercial robotic lunar landers, announced last year.  NASA says it will have payloads ready to go as soon as the commercial sector is ready, ideally by the end of this year.  NASA is now reaching out to the commercial sector for ideas on landers that can take astronauts to and from the surface.

NASA held a media roundtable and an industry day today focused on the human lunar lander effort, but most of the news was about CLPS.

Read more at: Spacepolicy online

After Twin-Astronaut Tests, NASA Readies New Wave Of Studies On Space Health Risks

Almost three years after NASA astronaut Scott Kelly returned from spending nearly a year in orbit, researchers are still poring over the data collected during an unprecedented study comparing his health with that of his earthbound twin brother.

They say the comparison hasn’t raised any red flags about long-term spaceflight on the International Space Station. “On the whole, it’s encouraging,” Craig Kundrot, director of NASA’s Space Life and Physical Sciences Research and Applications Division, said here today at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Read more at: Geekwire

Jokers Please: First Human Mars Mission May Need Onboard Comedians

Wanted: smart, fit and unflappable applicants for humanity’s first mission to Mars. Must have: crazy wig, oversized boots and a big red nose.

It is enough to make Neil Armstrong spin in his grave, but researchers have found that the success of a future mission to the red planet may depend on the ship having a class clown.

Rather than the cool personality that underpinned the Right Stuff in the Apollo era, future astronauts may need to prove they have something very different: the Silly Stuff. An onboard comedian is a proven way to unite teams in stressful situations, research shows.

Read more at: Guardinn

Illegally Drones Pose An Outsized Risk For US Aviation And The Public

U.S. aviation is courting catastrophe by making drones so accessible to untrained, unskilled, less-than-serious “pilots” who treat them as toys, veteran LeClairRyan aviation attorney Mark A. Dombroff warns in a new column at

“My fear is that, sooner or later, an illegally operated drone will cause a catastrophic aviation accident,” writes Dombroff, an Alexandria-based member of the national law firm and co-leader of its Aviation Industry practice. “If that happens, it will most likely be at an airport and involve a plane either taking off or landing, with potentially devastating consequences for the drone business.”

Read more at: Space daily

Scientists Use Spacecraft’s Measurements To Study Solar Wind Heating

With the help of a NASA spacecraft, astrophysicists have uncovered the process by which energy is transferred between electromagnetic fields and plasma in space.

Most of the visible matter in the universe exists in the form of plasma, an ionized state of matter. Understanding how energy is transferred to and from ionized particles in space can help scientists to better understand a variety of cosmological phenomena.

The transfer of energy from electromagnetic turbulence in space to the electrons in the solar wind is caused by a process known as Landau damping. When electromagnetic waves travel through plasma and the plasma particles themselves are traveling at the same speeds, the plasma particles absorb the wave’s energy, reducing — or damping — the electromagnetic wave.

Read more at: Space daily

International Partners Making Progress On ISS Funeral Plans

International Space Station (ISS) partners are making progress, but are still waiting for a complete deorbit plan for the orbital outpost, to be used in the event of contingency event or during its eventual End Of Life (EOL) scenario. The plan is being led by Roscosmos, which is expected to call for at least two Progress vehicles to push the Station out of orbit for a controlled destructive re-entry.

Although the effort is moving forward, NASA’s safety advisory panel – a long time advocate of having an “ISS Deorbit Strategy and Contingency Action Plan” in place – noted the finalizing of the evaluations are making progress, but are proceeding slower than desired.

The ISS continues to be a jewel in humanity’s space-faring crown and has many years of operational lifetime remaining. Currently, the expected lifetime will see it continue to be fully utilized by the ISS partners until around 2028, aided by additional commercial entities take advantage of its capabilities.

Read more at: NASA Spaceflight

Watch A Satellite Spear Space Debris With A Harpoon

A British satellite in orbit around Earth has successfully tested out a particularly pointed method for cleaning up space debris: piercing objects with a harpoon. In a new video taken from the spacecraft, the satellite shoots its onboard harpoon to puncture a target panel that’s about five feet away.

The test was part of the University of Surrey’s RemoveDEBRIS mission, which is designed to try out various ways of getting rid of debris in orbit. Space debris has become a growing concern for the aerospace community over the last few decades, as it makes the space environment more dangerous for future satellites. These objects typically consist of defunct spacecraft and other uncontrollable objects circling around Earth at more than 17,000 miles per hour. Getting hit by even a small piece of this debris could be enough to take out a functioning satellite, and the collision could create even more dangerous pieces of junk in the process.

Read more at: Verge

Why Do the Northern and Southern Lights Differ?

Dazzling green and red light displays regularly dance across the night sky above Earth’s northern and southern poles. For decades scientists had assumed that when aurorae shimmer simultaneously in both regions, the flashing patterns mirror each other. But in 2009 they found that was not the case. They were surprised, and stumped as to why. Now a team of researchers from Norway, Germany and the U.S. has discovered the culprit: a boisterous sun.

Earth generates a magnetic field that looks as if a bar magnet runs from the South Pole through its core to the North Pole. The field lines curve outward from both poles, far beyond the atmosphere, with the outer arcs forming the boundary of a magnetic bubble around our planet.

Read mroe at: Scientific American

Dark Flight And Debris: Lessons From The End Of China’s Space Station

Scientists studying the demise of China’s Tiangong-1 space station are uncovering information that can help them understand the effects of the Earth’s atmosphere on space debris and the risks posed when pieces of old satellites eventually fall back to Earth.

Tiangong-1, the name of which means “heavenly palace”, was China’s first space station. It orbited Earth from 2011 until 2 April 2018, when it fell into the South Pacific Ocean, northwest of Tahiti, becoming the largest piece of space debris to hit the planet since the Russian Mir space station made a controlled re-entry near Fiji in 2001.

Tracking Tiangong-1 was important, says Vishnu Reddy, a professor of planetary sciences at the University of Arizona, Tucson, US, because the manner in which its orbit decayed helped scientists understand how the Earth’s tenuous outermost atmosphere exerts drag on such objects, gradually slowing them until they can no longer stay aloft.

Read more at: Cosmos magazine

The Company That Promised A One-Way Ticket To Mars Is Bankrupt

Mars One Ventures — the company that claimed it was going to send hundreds of people to live (and ultimately die) on the Red Planet — is now bankrupt, according to Swiss financial notices. It’s an unsurprising development, as many experts suspected that Mars One has been a scam for years, preying on people’s desires to travel to space without having a real plan to get them there.

News of the liquidation first came to light over the weekend, thanks to a Redditor who spotted a notice for the company’s bankruptcy on a website for the city of Basel, Switzerland — where Mars One’s parent company is based. The source indicated that the the city declared the company bankrupt on January 15th, which then dissolved the organization.

Read more at: Verge

China’s Pouring Serious Money Into Potential Rivals Of Spacex And Blue Origin

Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin have long dominated the news with their respective advances in private space travel industry. But two private Chinese companies are also making big moves and gaining billions in investments as China’s state space agency announces its own ambitious goals. Here’s what’s going on in the global space race.

Read more at: CNBC

Russia Mulls Offering US Upgraded Space Vehicle for Lunar Orbit Station Supplies

Russia is planning to offer the United States to deliver supplies to the future international lunar orbital station with the use of the modernized Progress-L cargo spacecraft, a Russian space industry source has told Sputnik.

It was reported earlier that NASA, together with other countries, plans to build a manned LOP-G station (Lunar Orbital Platform — Gateway) in lunar orbit in the 2020s.

According to a source, if these plans are approved, the launches of the Progress-L spacecraft will be carried out in 2026 and 2027 on Russia’s Angara-A5 launch vehicles.

Read more at: Sputnik news

China Improves Long March-6 Rocket For Growing Commercial Launches

China announced Monday that it is developing the modified version of the Long March-6 rocket to add four solid boosters to increase its carrying capacity.

The improved medium-left carrier rocket will be sent into space by 2020, according to the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, which designed the rocket.

The Long March-6 has been mainly used for the academy’s commercial launches. The rocket completed two space tests in September 2015 and November 2017, carrying 20 satellites and three satellites respectively.

Read more at: Space daily

Successful Launch Of Rocket From High-Altitude Balloon Makes Space More Accessible To Microsatellites

A startup that plans to use high-altitude balloons to deploy rockets has successfully fired a test launch, moving closer to its goal of helping end the backlog of microsatellites that wait months or longer to “hitch” a ride on larger rockets.

Leo Aerospace Inc., a Purdue University-affiliated startup based in Los Angeles, launched its first “rockoon,” a high-power rocket from a reusable balloon platform, from the Mojave Desert in southern California in December.

“It was thrilling to see that first launch after all those months of hard work and planning,” said Michael Hepfer, head of product development for Leo Aerospace and a senior in Purdue’s School of Industrial Engineering. “It confirmed our early testing that using high-altitude balloons and rockets to send microsatellites into space will work.”

Read more at: Purdue

Elon Musk Says Spacex Is Developing A ‘Bleeding’ Heavy-Metal Rocket Ship. Making It Work May Be 100 Times As Hard As NASA’s Most Difficult Mars Mission, One Expert Says.

SpaceX, the aerospace company founded by Elon Musk, is working diligently on a wildly ambitious project: to permanently settle people on Mars.

To help make that vision a reality, Musk’s company is developing a colossal, fully reusable launch system called Starship.

Starship is envisioned as a 180-foot-tall spaceship that will ride into orbit atop Super Heavy, a rocket booster about 220 feet tall, according to Musk’s latest descriptions. The spaceship is designed to be refueled in low-Earth orbit in order to propel 100 passengers and more than 100 tons of cargo at a time to Mars.

But the success or failure of the launch system – and by extension Musk’s plan to back up the human race – may boil down to the viability of two major and recent design changes, which Musk has described as “radical” and “delightfully counterintuitive.”

Read more at: Business insider

Building A Better Booster (Part 1)

Normally, the first test of a new rocket engine or motor is a rather secretive affair witnessed only by engineers and top-level customer representatives. While the tension of firing a new rocket was still present, the atmosphere last September 20, when Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems (NGIS) first fired the new GEM 63 solid rocket motor, was much more festive.

The GEM 63 is a jointly funded effort between NGIS and the US Air Force, and so it’s expected to see airmen and experts from the Aerospace Corporation (the Air Force’s technical experts on rockets) on hand to witness the event. Much less expected though, were representatives from United Launch Alliance (ULA), who will use the GEM 63, and NASA, neither of which were directly paying for the test. Even less surprising was that the event included a soundtrack featuring the greatest hits of The Eagles pumped in through a Jumbotron, and the presence of busloads of schoolchildren and other onlookers who were about to receive the STEM lesson of a lifetime. Such was the apparent confidence of the NGIS team going into a test that they already knew was going to succeed: if they’ve already got the fireworks, why not have a party?

Read more at: Spacereview

Rs-25 Engine Goes Through Another Test

One of the leftover rocket engines used during the 30-year Space Shuttle program was tested again today, Feb. 13, 2019, at NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.

Known as RS-25 engines, it was formerly called the Space Shuttle Main Engine. Its development began back in the 1960s to be a reusable engine. However, for its use on NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) they will not be reused and will end up at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

During their tenure with the Shuttle Program, the engines acquired a 99.95 percent success rate.

NASA had planned to use the engines as part of the now-cancelled Constellation Program. When the Ares V rocket was selected to continue as the re-dubbed SLS, the RS-25 was also spared (the announcement of such was made on Sept. 14, 2011) and continues to be tested.

Read more at: Spaceflight Insider

Cubesat Deployed From Space Station To Test Sample Return Technology

One of five CubeSats deployed from the International Space Station last month is testing a steerable drag brake that could find use in future smallsats to return experiment samples to the ground from low Earth orbit, or on low-cost micro-probes to explore other planets.

NASA’s TechEdSat 8 nanosatellite was one of five CubeSats released from a NanoRacks deployer outside the space station Jan. 31, joining other missions probing the ionosphere, conducting communications experiments, and providing hands-on experience for engineering students.

Designed and developed by scientists, engineers and students at NASA’s Ames Research Center and San Jose State University, TechEdSat 8 is the latest in a series of miniature satellites validating technology and techniques for returning CubeSats and small sample canisters to Earth intact.

Read more at: Spaceflight Now

Developing A Flight Strategy To Land Heavier Vehicles On Mars

The heaviest vehicle to successfully land on Mars is the Curiosity Rover at 1 metric ton, about 2,200 pounds. Sending more ambitious robotic missions to the surface of Mars, and eventually humans, will require landed payload masses in the 5- to 20-ton range. To do that, we need to figure out how to land more mass. That was the goal of a recent study.

Normally, when a vehicle enters the Mars atmosphere at hypersonic speeds of about Mach 30, it slows down quickly, deploys a parachute to slow down more then uses rocket engines or air bags to finish the landing.

“Unfortunately, parachute systems do not scale well with increasing vehicle mass. The new idea is to eliminate the parachute and use larger rocket engines for descent,” said Zach Putnam, assistant professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Read more at: Illinois aerospace

Arianespace To Launch Satellite Deployment Solution From Open Cosmos

Arianespace and Open Cosmos report that they have signed a contract for the launch of an innovative CubeSat deployment solution.

Launched from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana using a Soyuz rocket, the CubeSat deployment platform is a key to the commercial offering from Open Cosmos. The first mission comprises an array of CubeSats with a total capacity of 12 units (12U). It will weigh about 30 kg. at liftoff, and the CubeSats will be injected into Sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude over 500 km.

Read more at: Space daily

Newly Signed Funding Bill Gives NASA’s Budget A Significant Boost

After enduring the longest government shutdown in history, NASA stands to receive a big boost in funding for fiscal year 2019, thanks to a new budget bill signed by President Trump today. The legislation, which funds the federal government through September 30th, 2019, would give NASA $21.5 billion — an increase over last year’s budget of $20.7 billion andmuch more than the $19.9 billion the agency asked for.

Practically every major program within NASA will receive a boost. The agency’s science programs, which cover planetary missions and Earth science, will receive a total $6.9 billion, up from $6.2 billion from last year. The human exploration program will get $5 billion, while it got $4.79 billion in 2018.

Read more at: Verge

Spacex Files Protest Of NASA’s Lucy Launch Contract Awarded To ULA

SpaceX has filed a protest challenging a nearly $150 million NASA contract awarded to United Launch Alliance last month to send a robotic asteroid probe into space.

The protest submitted to the Government Accountability Office on Feb. 11 questions a launch contract for NASA’s Lucy science mission to United Launch Alliance. NASA announced Jan. 31 that ULA won the launch contract for the Lucy mission, set for liftoff in October 2021 from Cape Canaveral aboard ULA’s Atlas 5 rocket.

SpaceX said in a statement that it could launch the Lucy mission for less than the $148.3 million awarded to ULA, a 50-50 joint venture between aerospace giants Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

Read more at: Spaceflight Now

Offensive War in Space

A new arms race is unfolding among spacefaring nations. Space experts have been telling us about contested space for the last several years. Today, there are about 1,300 active satellites in a crowded nest of Earth orbits. They provide worldwide communications, GPS navigation, weather forecasting and planetary surveillance.

Military organizations rely on many of these satellites in support of modern warfare. The three main contenders are the U.S., China and Russia. The ongoing power struggle may ignite a conflict that could cripple the entire space-based infrastructure while reducing the capabilities of warfighter organizations.

Read more at: Space daily

Second Iranian Satellite Launch Attempt In A Month Fails

Iran’s second try in less than a month to send a satellite into orbit apparently failed shortly after liftoff from a remote desert launch pad under daily surveillance from a fleet of commercial imaging spacecraft, according to U.S. government officials and independent analysts.

Images of the launch pad in north-central Iran taken by orbiting satellites owned by U.S. companies suggest a rocket launch occurred last week, but the U.S. military’s catalog of space objects registered no new spacecraft in orbit. A satellite launch attempt was expected in recent weeks based on statements from Iran’s government and observations of increasing activity at the launch site.

Read more at: Spaceflight Now

Pentagon’s Inspector General To Launch Probe Into Certification Of Spacex Rockets … But It’s Unclear Why

The Pentagon’s inspector general is launching an investigation as to whether the U.S. Air Force improperly certified SpaceX launch systems, it announced Monday.

“Our objective is to determine whether the U.S. Air Force complied with the Launch Services New Entrant Certification Guide when certifying the launch system design for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle-class SpaceX Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles,” Michael Roark, deputy inspector general for intelligence and special program assessments, wrote in a memo addressed to Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson.

Exactly what is prompting this review is unclear. The IG’s memo does not specify what, if anything, raised suspicions about the Air Force’s 2015 certification of Falcon 9 and 2018 certification of Falcon Heavy.

Read more at: Defense news

DIA: China to Deploy ASAT Laser by 2020

China’s military is expected to deploy a laser weapon capable of destroying or damaging U.S. military satellites in low earth orbit in the next year, the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency disclosed in a report on space threats.

The Chinese directed energy weapon is among an array of space warfare tools that include ground-based anti-satellite (ASAT) missiles, electronic jammers, cyber attacks, and small satellites Beijing plans to use in attacks on U.S. satellites in a future conflict.

“China likely is pursuing laser weapons to disrupt, degrade, or damage sat­ellites and their sensors and possibly already has a limited capability to employ laser systems against satellite sensors,” the unclassified intelligence report said.

Read more at: Freebeacon

Review: War in Space

The last year has seen plenty of attention devoted to growing military activities in space and the threat of conflict there. Much of that has focused on proposals by the Trump Administration to establish a Space Force as a separate military branch (or, perhaps, as a “Space Corps” within the Air Force) to elevate the importance of space within the Pentagon. In addition, a new Missile Defense Review unveiled last month called for development of a new satellite system for monitoring missile launches and a study of space-based interceptors.

Those developments and others, like anti-satellite weapons development in China and Russia, would seem like a good foundation for a book examining the potential for conflict in space. That is indeed what War in Space by Linda Dawson attempts to do, although many readers may be disappointed in the result.

Read more at: Spacereview

The US Air Force Has Won Control of the Space Force

Detailed planning for the proposed Space Force is expected to be handed over soon to the U.S. Air Force, a sign that Pentagon leaders — many of whom opposed the notion of consolidating military space operations in a new organization — have found a version that they can support.

In coming weeks, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan is expected to sign a memo asking Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson to stand up a team that will figure out the bureaucratic nuts and bolts of the new space organization, according to a draft of the memo being circulated by top administration and military officials.

Read more at: Defense one

Defense Intelligence Agency Report Aims To Educate Public On Space Security

The Defense Intelligence Agency released a new report on Monday on the national security challenges the United States faces in outer space. Titled, “Challenges to Security in Space,” the report is written for a layman audience and aims to educate the broader public.

“It is intended to support a deeper public understanding of key space and counterspace issues and inform open dialogue and partner engagement on these challenges,” a DIA spokesman told SpaceNews.

The new report follows one the agency released last month on China’s military power, including its anti-satellite weapons and other counterspace capabilities.

Read more at: Spacenews

Former Astronaut Mark Kelly Enters the 2020 Senate Race

One of the closest races of the 2018 midterms was the battle for the U.S. Senate seat in Arizona vacated by Jeff Flake. It took a recount to determine that Democrat Kyrsten Sinema edged out Republican Martha McSally, who ignored calls from the White House to accuse her opponent of voter fraud. McSally was rewarded less than a month later, though, when Arizona Governor Doug Ducey tapped her to step in for Jon Kyl, who replaced John McCain following his death in August, only to resign in December. It’s going to be tough for McSally to hang on to the seat beyond 2020, though.

Read more at: Rollingstone

When Space Politics Was Born

President John F. Kennedy’s historic pledge in September 1962 to beat the Soviet Union to the moon launched NASA’s ambitious Apollo program, which ultimately achieved his bold vision of landing an American on the moon before the decade was out.

Why Kennedy, who was assassinated a little over a year after his famous speech at Rice University, staked so much of his political capital on the moon mission is the subject of a new book by presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, “American Moon Shot: John F. Kennedy and Great Space Race.” The book, which will be published April 2 ahead of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, recounts the Democratic president’s brief but seminal role in the space race after defeating Republican Vice President Richard Nixon in 1960.

Read more at: Politico

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