The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 67, July 1963 - April, 1964 Page: 360
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
ence, Kennedy started speaking in his clipped Boston brogue.
During the next five years, he said, "your city will become the
heart of a large scientific and engineering community." In
the National Aeronautics and Space Administration expects to double
the number of scientists and engineers in this area-to increase its
outlays for salaries and expenses to $6o Million a year-to invest
some $roo Million here in plant and laboratory facilities-and
to direct or contract for new space efforts at a rate of $1 Billion
a year from this space center alone.
The audience interrupted him with a thundering applause; over
the months the citizens there had heard about such figures, but
until then had not really thought about them in terms of what
they meant for the Houston economy. "Outer space is there," the
president continued. "The moon and the planets beyond are
there-new hopes for knowledge and peace are there with them."
Again the audience clapped, but Kennedy went on, his right arm
pumping slightly, to declare that
If we are, my fellow citizens, to send to the moon, 240,000 miles
away from the control station here in Houston, a giant rocket
more than goo feet high-made of new alloys that have not yet
even been developed--capable of standing heats and stresses several
times that ever before experienced-fitted together with a precision
many times finer than the finest watch-carrying all the equipment
needed for propulsion, guidance, control, communications, food and
survival on an untried mission to an unknown celestial body-and
then return it safely to earth, re-entering the atmosphere at speeds
up to 25,000 miles an hour, causing heat about half the temperature
of the sun-almost as hot as it is here today-and do all this and
do it right and do it first before this decade is out-then we. must
be bold and daring and unflinching.
When he was through moments later, 50,000 Houstonians rose
to give him a resounding ovation, then left the stadium with a
fierce sense of a new Manifest Destiny-a profound, God-given
right to explore and to conquer the farthest limits of their solar
system. Even the NASA men, who themselves had heard and
given similar speeches before, walked away that day with a clearer
understanding of what was possible. And all knew, then, that the
Space Age was irrevocably here, in their midst, and that their
Here’s what’s next.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 67, July 1963 - April, 1964, periodical, 1964; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101197/m1/418/: accessed June 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.