Spring 2011:

March 11, '11 "President John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon", Dr. John M. Logsdon, Professor Emeritus at the Space Policy Institute, Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University, WDC


President John F. Kennedy is well-remembered because fifty years ago he set NASA on a path that led Americans to land on the Moon. But Kennedy's effect on the U.S. space program was much broader than just announcing on May 25, 1961 that "we should go to the Moon." This talk will discuss both the reasons for that decision and the actions of President Kennedy and his close White House associates as they turned his 1961 pronouncement into an effort that by the time of Kennedy's assassination had developed almost unstoppable momentum towards the lunar landing goal. The talk will also include an assessment of Kennedy's commitment to Apollo both in terms of its impact on national power and pride and its impact on the space program since Apollo.

Dr. John M. Logsdon
Professor Emeritus at the Space Policy Institute
Elliott School of International Affairs
The George Washington University, WDC

Dr. John M. Logsdon is Professor Emeritus at the Space Policy Institute, Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University. From September 2008 to August 2009, Dr. Logsdon held the Lindbergh Chair in Aerospace History at the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, DC. Prior to this one-year appointment, Dr. Logsdon was on the faculty of the George Washington University for 38 years. He was the founder in 1987 and long-time Director of the Space Policy Institute at GW's Elliott School of International Affairs. He holds a B.S. in Physics from Xavier University (1960) and a Ph.D. in Political Science from New York University (1970).

Dr. Logsdon's research interests focus on the policy and historical aspects of U.S. and international space activities. Dr. Logsdon is the author of The Decision to Go to the Moon: Project Apollo and the National Interest and is general editor of the eight-volume series Exploring the Unknown: Selected Documents in the History of the U.S. Civil Space Program. He has written numerous articles and reports on space policy and history. He is frequently consulted by the electronic and print media for his views on space issues. Dr. Logsdon is a member of the Exploration Committee of the NASA Advisory Council. In 2003, he served as a member of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board. From 1997-1999, he served as a member of a blue-ribbon international panel evaluating Japan's National Space Development Agency. From 1998-2008, he was a member of the Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Council of the Department of Transportation. He has also served on the Vice President's Space Policy Advisory Board and the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board of the National Research Council.

He is a recipient of the NASA Distinguished Public Service and Public Service Medals, the 2005 John F. Kennedy Award from the American Astronautical Society, and the 2006 Barry Goldwater Space Educator Award of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is a member of the International Academy of Astronautics.