By John M. Logsdon
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Extra resources for After Apollo?: Richard Nixon and the American Space Program
3 There was little or no Nixon involvement in space issues between his defeat in the 1960 presidential election and his selection as the Republican nominee for president in August 1968. However, a few days after his February 1, 1968, announcement that he would be a candidate for that nomination, Nixon told a space-interested audience in Washington that “the United States must remain competitive in this field, and we must support a space program which is second to none. ” These views foreshadowed the approach to space issues that Nixon would actually pursue as president, but they were articulated before the glare of campaign attention had begun.
How candidate Nixon’s general statements on space might translate into specific decisions was not made clear. ”4 S e t t i n g t h e P o s t- A p o l l o S tag e 33 NASA Not Ready for Success While Richard Nixon came to the White House knowing that he would soon have to make choices regarding the future of the United States in space, the NASA leadership was not well prepared to present the new president with attractive options for that future. At what should have been a moment of great triumph, with the spectacular success of the bold Apollo 8 mission and with the first landing on the Moon just months in the future, the top officials of NASA in January 1969 did not have a clear sense of what might best follow Apollo.
When the crew had interacted with the First Lady at the August 13 banquet, they had found her distant and stiff. ” The three astronauts and their wives then spent the night at the White House. A few weeks later, “Giant Step” would 30 A f t e r A p o l l o? be resumed for a t wo-day trip to Canada, but the White House evening provided a satisfying conclusion to the mission of Apollo 11 and its immediate aftermath. According to Collins, Mrs. ”49 Now What? The excitement of Apollo 11 had barely begun to diminish when on September 15 President Nixon received the report of the “Space Task Group” he had created in February 1969 to recommend the course of the post-Apollo space program.
After Apollo?: Richard Nixon and the American Space Program by John M. Logsdon