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Battle for “Space for Peace” with JFK, John Glenn

John F. Kennedy had not even been sworn in inauguration when the battle began. In December 1960, a month after its inauguration, the US Air Force launched its first attack. This was not against foreign enemies, but against the private space agency NASA. In a letter to the Commander, the Secretary of the Air Force expressed confidence that President-elect understood the importance of “military superiority in space” and would therefore give the Air Force a major role. The Air Force leaked the letter to make sure Kennedy understood the point.

“Space Fight” and Aviation Week cheered. But this was not just a turf war. At stake was the very purpose of the US space program. Will the country continue to commit to the policy of retiring president Dwight D. Eisenhower, “Space for Peace,” or will the new administration, as the Air Force sees, put the universe on the stage of the Cold War? And would it be seen as a battlefield where armed conflict might be inevitable? The decision was made by Kennedy, but as the event unfolded, it became more dependent on an astronaut named John Glen. It was.

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NASA’s presence was an insult to the Air Force’s top brass.

NASA’s presence was an insult to the Air Force’s top brass. The 1958 Space Law, which created NASA and empowered it to control manned spaceflight, was a criticism of all military planners who had the fantasy of a space station full of orbital fighters and missiles.When the Soviet Union was achieving the “first” one after another, that is, when the first satellite, the first animal in orbit, and the first unmanned spacecraft reached the moon, Eisenhower said space exploration was a nation. He held on to his view that it would not be of security benefit. As a concession, he allowed the Air Force to continue developing the X-20, a high-altitude bomber, but “Man-in.・ Space ”program, project

Mercury,

It was a NASA domain.

Kennedy’s election gave hope to the generals: “If the Soviets rule the universe, they can rule the planet,” he said during the campaign. In the eyes of the world, “second in the universe” means second in science and technology, second in military power, and second in the struggle between freedom and totalitarian rule. In late 1960, a confidential report from the U.S. Intelligence Agency was leaked and controversial, revealing that Soviet dominance in space was eroding global confidence in the United States, Ana said. Liszt called it “satellite pessimism.” There was increasing pressure to show strength in space.

And NASA held a weakening hand. Astronauts were popular with the general public, but the manned program was far behind schedule and failed. The rocket exploded on the launch pad. The payload fell into the sea. Rumors spread that Kennedy would hand over Mercury to the army or stop it altogether, and his scientific adviser Jerome Wiesner preferred this policy.

As history within the Air Force shows, “time is ripe” to “launch an aggressive information campaign” aimed at rocking Kennedy and abandoning his predecessor’s approach. Speeches and articles Was created, and the Air Force Commission warned about “the military impact of Soviet space launch frequency and payload size.”

The Air Force misjudged the audience. Despite all his martial arts rhetoric, Kennedy was willing to militarize the universe, just as Eisenhower did. I wanted to surpass Russia, but it was based on engineering, not weapons. (Apart from the story on Earth, the arms race has intensified.) He believed that this would have a deterrent effect in space. He also said, “For the benefit of mankind,” as space law stipulates. I saw the benefits of propaganda from space exploration. In March 1961, he accused NASA of subordinating its space activities to the Department of Defense’s activities.

But this was not the last word. The following month, Soviet Air Force pilot Yuri Gagarin made the first space flight of mankind and returned safely after one lap. “I want to see the country mobilized on a wartime basis.” At the hearing the next day, the House of Representatives made a loud noise. “Because of the war,” others made outlooks for Soviet tanks and missile bases on the moon. Missiles launched from the moon did not seem to be as accurate as missiles launched from Irkutsk and elsewhere, but few doubted that Russia would test the proposal. The Cold War was in a more dangerous stage. In August, the Soviet Union built a wall in Berlin and began testing a new, nightmare-powered nuclear weapon.

John Glenn in a historic flight on Friendship 7 on February 20, 1962.


Photo:

NASA

As the “time of greatest danger” approached, in Kennedy’s words, his hopes depended on John Glenn’s fate, from the town of Ohio to the fierce aerial warfare. Glenn’s easy-going and cheerful behavior was the most admired of Astronaut Mercury, and in late 1961 he was given the first orbital flight, his most important mission to date. In mid-1961, NASA successfully launched humans into space twice, in “ballistic” flights, flying up and down in 15 minutes. It fell to Glen to end the Soviet monopoly in orbital flight.

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Glenn confidently projected, but personally began to think of the possibility of becoming the first human to die in space.

Glen predicted confidence. But personally, he began to consider the possibility of being a victim of the Cold War and became the first dead human in space. His flight was scrubbed 10 times in four months. .. It was postponed due to bad weather and what it called “technical difficulties” because of the inaccuracies studied by NASA. He was alone in the crew’s dormitory and wrote a script for a recording that would be played if the teenage children, Lynn and Dave, did not come back to life. The handwritten script, which has never been published before, started with a reasonably rigorous content. “When I heard this, I was killed,” he wrote. He told his children, “I’m glad that my life wasn’t wasted like me … I worked hard and reached the highest point. It depends on the person

On February 20, 1962, Glen flew higher than any American for a thrilling five hours. His capsule, Friendship 7, made three orbits around the globe and landed safely. In a free world, people shed tears of peace. “The magic has been solved,” the West German newspaper declared. Soviet spaceflight would no longer suggest a “serious flaw in the democratic order.” But for the Air Force, Glenn’s success did not make a mistake. As the internal report acknowledged, “the campaign to gain a greater role in space and amend the” space for peace “policy has ended at least temporarily.”

Sixty years later, today, a new space race is underway, raising unanswered old questions about the purpose of the US program. The newly energized NASA is at the forefront of scientific discovery, but space is becoming a military brink forum, not only in Russia, but now with China.Warning to the challenge, President

Joe Biden

Promised full support to the United States Space Force, whose mission is to “protect our lives on Earth through an interest in space.” Thirty years after the end of the Cold War, the US military’s presence in space is well established and expanding.

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Battle for “Space for Peace” with JFK, John Glenn

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