JFK Quotes About Space

Space seemed so far away at the beginning of the 20th century. But it wouldn’t take long for the fascination with what was beyond the planet’s atmosphere to become a focus of many of the planet’s major powers. Though the reasons for these powers may have been to one up and beat each other to the punch, the space race was a huge step when it comes to scientific discovery.

One of the prominent figureheads of the space race was US president John F. Kennedy. His support for the US space program launched the superpower into the great unknown of space. His words inspired a nation and continue to inspire people to this very day! Let’s take a look at some of his quotes about space.

Space Quotes by JFK

“First I believe that this Nation should commit itself to achieve the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on 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 which we intend to win.”

“We go into space because whatever mankind must undertake, free men must fully share.”

“… the United States was not built by those who waited and rested and wished to look behind them. This country was conquered by those who moved forward, and so will space.”

“Now is the time…for this nation to take a clearly leading role in space achievement, which in many ways may hold the key to our future on Earth.”

“But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask; why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?”

“We believe that when men reach beyond this planet, they should leave their national differences behind them.”

“I am sorry to say that there is too much point to the wisecrack that life is extinct on other planets because their scientists were more advanced than ours.”

“It is for these reasons that I regard the decision last year to shift our efforts in space from low to high gear as among the most important decisions that will be made during my incumbency in the office of the Presidency.”

“Man, in his quest for knowledge and progress, is determined and cannot be deterred. The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in or not, and it is one of the great adventures of all time, and no nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in this race for space.”

“Many years ago the great British explorer George Mallory, who was to die on Mount Everest, was asked why did he want to climb it. He said, “Because it is there.” Well, space is there, and we’re going to climb it, and the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there. And, therefore, as we set sail we ask God’s blessing on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked.”

“The eyes of the world now look into space, to the moon and to the planets beyond, and we have vowed that we shall not see it governed by a hostile flag of conquest, but by a banner of freedom and peace. We have vowed that we shall not see space filled with weapons of mass destruction, but with instruments of knowledge and understanding.”

“We believe that when men reach beyond this planet, they should leave their national differences behind them.”

“We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people. For space science, like nuclear science and technology, has no conscience of its own. Whether it will become a force for good or ill depends on man, and only if the United States occupies a position of preeminence can we help decide whether this new ocean will be a sea of peace or a new terrifying theater of war.”

A sign marking the entrance to the John F. Kennedy Space Center

Who Is the Author of the Listed Quotes

In 1957, the world was stunned by the Soviet Union’s launching of the Sputnik satellite. Worried that the Soviets would be able to get a good foothold in the next great unknown, The US started considering a space program and began to form one under the leadership of Dwight D. Eisenhower. But it wasn’t until the 35th President, John F. Kennedy took office that the program became a serious focus for the US government.

In 1961, JFK made his famous speech where he pledged support for dramatic growth and intense focus on landing a man on the moon. Though the delivery of the message and even some of the words came from the charismatic leader, the bulk of the words were actually drafted by his speechwriter Theodore Chaikin Sorensen. This lawyer, writer, and presidential adviser served the president until his tragic death.

Wrap Up

The space race was a pivotal part of world history. The focus of science moved from the ground under our feet to the stars over our heads. For governments, it was about claiming territory and showing the world their scientific might. But for those of us that had nothing to do with the government agenda, it was about seeing if we were the only people in the universe.

John F. Kennedy understood that both ideas were important and used them to inspire huge progress in the science of the stars. Eventually, the US was able to land men on the moon as JFK had predicted, and this started decades of amazing exploration into the stars.

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