We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people. For space science, like nuclear science and all technology, has no conscience of its own. Whether it will become a force for good or ill depends on man, and only if the United States occupies a position of pre-eminence can we help decide whether this new ocean will be a sea of peace or a new terrifying theater of war. I do not say the we should or will go unprotected against the hostile misuse of space any more than we go unprotected against the hostile use of land or sea, but I do say that space can be explored and mastered without feeding the fires of war, without repeating the mistakes that man has made in extending his writ around this globe of ours.
There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation many never come again. But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?
We choose to go to the moon. 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.
I do not believe that this generation of Americans is willing to resign itself to going to bed each night by the light of a Communist moon.
In designing the base, Wernher von Braun appointed Heinz Koelle to head the project team at Redstone Arsenal. Spacecraft components would be lofted in 147 Saturn C-I and C-II booster launches, and then assembled in low earth orbit at an austere spent-tank space station. A Lunar landing and return vehicle would shuttle up to sixteen astronauts at a time to the base and back.
Construction would begin in April 1965 and the base was to become operational by December 1966 at Sinus Aestuum or Mare Imbrium. The base would be defended against Russian overland attack by man-fired weapons - unguided Davy Crockett rockets with low-yield nuclear warheads, and conventional claymore mines modified to puncture pressure suits.
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