In 1965, NASA’s annual budget was $5.2 billion; this money was spent to heat up the Space Race (“Project Apollo”). The Space Race and its competitive nature is best illustrated in this passage from John F. Kennedy’s Address at Rice University on the nation's space effort, “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too” (“John F. Kennedy”). The launch of the Soviet satellite, Sputnik ...view middle of the document...
This legislation allowed for an increased emphasis on mathematics, foreign language, and the sciences (Commager 628; “National”). The concept of increased emphasis on math, foreign language, and the sciences are best illustrated by this passage:
We must increase our efforts to identify and educate more of the talent of our Nation. This requires programs that will give assurance that no student of ability will be denied an opportunity for higher education because of financial need; will correct as rapidly as possible the existing imbalances in our educational programs which have led to an insufficient proportion of our population educated in science, mathematics, and modern foreign languages and trained in technology. (Commager 628; “National”)
An increased emphasis on math, foreign language, and the sciences allowed students to receive a better education in those areas. It also gave students the knowledge they needed to become the rocket scientists America needed. The National Defense Education Act also allowed for an augment in the funding for schools. The financial support for schools amounted to $70 billion (Commager 629; “National”). This allowed schools to buy additional and improved supplies and equipment for the science and math rooms, so the students could learn the new developments and discoveries in science.
The German engineers, scientists, and technology from World War II enabled the United States to catch up with the Soviets. One of the most influential engineers from Germany was Wernher von Braun. Von Braun was interested in rockets from a very young age (“A Brief”). He developed the V-2, the first long range ballistic missile. Von Braun and his team continued work on the V-2 rocket in America. They eventually created the Redstone (“A Brief;” Neufeld). The Redstone rockets were medium range ballistic missiles; they played a key role in early US space exploration by providing a platform on which to launch Alan Shepard into space (“A Brief;” Kruse; Neufeld). His achievements helped create and grow the fragile US space program. His rockets provided early platforms to test experimental equipment, to collect data, and to put Americans into space. Von Braun helped to catapult America into the Space Race.
Another influential engineer was Kurt Debus. Like von Braun, he worked under the Third Reich. Kurt Debus helped with the construction of several rocket and NASA facilities at Cape Canaveral. He organized the launches and launched numerous rockets and missiles, including the Apollo manned missions (Dunbar). He helped the US space program by building crucial infrastructure and organizing vital manned launches. Kurt Debus enabled the US to enter and compete in the Space Race.
The final engineer that influenced the US space program was Arthur Rudolph. During the Second World War, Rudolph worked on the V-2 project in Germany. When the war was over, he went to work for the US space program. In America, he helped improve the V-2 rocket at the...