NASA

NASA commemorates JFK’s moon speech at Rice Stadium 60 years later as NASA plans new moon mission

President Kennedy gave the iconic speech nearly seven years before American astronauts stepped foot on the lunar surface during the summer of 1969.

Lucio Vasquez / Houston Public Media
Rice University and NASA commemorated the 60th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s moon speech at Rice Stadium on September 12, 2022.

Sixty years ago, President John F. Kennedy delivered his iconic moon speech at Rice Stadium — nearly seven years before American astronauts stepped foot on the lunar surface during the summer of 1969.

On Monday, Rice University and NASA commemorated the speech and its impact as NASA continues to work on the future of space travel.

“Today, in space city, a new generation — the Artemis generation — stands ready,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “Ready to return humanity to the moon, and then to take us further than ever before to Mars.”

NASA’s unmanned Artemis I moon mission – which was scrubbed earlier this month due to liquid hydrogen fuel leak — aims to create a basecamp on the lunar surface where astronauts can train for an eventual trip to Mars, according to NASA's website. The mission will also land the first woman and first person of color on the moon, according to NASA Johnson Space Center Director Vanessa Wyche.

NASA officials say they’re hoping to launch Artemis I by the end of the month.

Lucio Vasquez / Houston Public Media
HISD students attended Rice and NASA’s 60th anniversary commemoration of John F. Kennedy’s moon speech on September 12, 2022.

This comes after Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday visited NASA Johnson Space Center to discuss federal policies regarding the further exploration of space and the creation of rules to govern future space activity.

Administrator Nelson said the country’s focus on space will bring about a new age of exploration and advancement of human and robotic spaceflight.

“Ladies and gentlemen, Mars is calling,” Nelson said. “Let us continue the quest to unfold this universe. And let us continue to find unity in our discovery.”

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