Column: Is Obama grounding JFK's space legacy?
By Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell and Gene Cernan
Was President Kennedy
a dreamer, a visionary, or simply politically astute? We may never know, but he had the courage to make that bold proposal 50 years ago Wednesday
. The Soviet Union's Yuri Gagarin had completed an orbit of the Earth the previous month and electrified the world. The United States
had taken only one human, Alan Shepard
, above 100 miles altitude and none into orbit. Americans, embarrassed by the successes of our Cold War
adversary, were eager to demonstrate that we too were capable of great achievements in space.