Thursday, June 12, 2014

A Tale of Two Presidents (post 12)

As I awaited word from NASA, political changes in early 1969 would have a profound effect on the future of NASA and the space program. President Lyndon B. Johnson had left office on January 20, 1969. Johnson was the “Godfather” of the space program. As the powerful Senate Majority Leader, he worked to establish  NASA, set up an influential Senate Committee to oversee it, and shepherd large budget increases for NASA through Congress. Space was one of Johnson’s assignments as Vice President. Then Projects Gemini and Apollo through Apollo 8 occurred during his presidency. It is no coincidence that he was invited to, and attended the Apollo 11 launch, as shown in this picture I took. On the other hand, his successor, President Richard M. Nixon, saw space exploration as a tool for political advantage and international prestige. Nixon would later cancel Apollo 18-20 and in 1972 approve plans for a scaled-down space shuttle which would be only be partially reuseable, leading to many problems later.

#Apollo11Eyewitness   Post #12

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