Goals in Space

November 13, 1968

Report Outline
Stocktaking of U. S. Space Programs
Gains in Decade of Space Exploration
Alternatives in Further Space Activity
Special Focus

Stocktaking of U. S. Space Programs

Coming U. S. Manned Flight Around the Moon

Three american astronauts will attempt the first manned flight around the moon during the coming Christmas season. If they are successful, it will give the United States its greatest space feat at a time when the country's $32 billion space effort has been losing momentum. It will mark man's most distant and dangerous venture into space, barring a prior Soviet move, and bring nearer a future descent to the moon's surface.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration announced Nov. 12 that the Apollo 8 spacecraft will be sent aloft Dec. 21 or soon afterward. The timing will depend on conditions for launching at Cape Kennedy and recovery in the Pacific, plus the moon's position. The flight is intended to last at least six days and take the astronauts within 70 miles of the moon as they circle it 10 times. “We take some additional risks operating in a low lunar orbit,” it was acknowledged by Apollo's program director. But Samuel C. Phillips added it was only a “normal progression of risks” in moving closer to a moon landing—an event NASA hopes to engineer next year.

A possibility that the Soviet Union also may soon rocket men around the moon has led to new predictions of a photo finish in the race to a lunar landing. Only a year remains until the 1970 target date set by President Kennedy in 1961 for a manned landing on the moon. The approaching climax finds Americans divided over their big space program, its goals beyond the moon, and its priority on a national agenda overshadowed by war and by problems in the cities.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Space Exploration
Jul. 23, 2021  Space Exploration
Feb. 21, 2020  The Mars Mission
Aug. 04, 2017  New Space Race
Jun. 20, 2014  Search for Life On New Planets
Feb. 24, 2012  Space Program
Aug. 16, 2011  Weapons in Space
Oct. 16, 2009  Human Spaceflight
May 23, 2003  NASA's Future
Jul. 23, 1999  New Challenges in Space
Apr. 25, 1997  Space Program's Future
Dec. 24, 1993  Space Program's Future
Mar. 29, 1991  Uncertain Future for Man in Space
Jul. 31, 1987  Space Race
Feb. 07, 1986  Space Decisions after Challenger
Feb. 18, 1983  American Options in Space
Nov. 10, 1978  Changing U.S. Space Policy
Jul. 04, 1975  Cooperation in Space
Mar. 15, 1972  Space Shuttle Controversy
Oct. 01, 1969  Mission to Mars: Benefits Vs. Costs
Nov. 13, 1968  Goals in Space
Jun. 29, 1966  Future of Space Exploration
May 08, 1963  Moon Race Controversy
Jun. 27, 1962  Peaceful Use of Outer Space
Nov. 01, 1961  Space Exploration
Dec. 09, 1959  National Space Policy
Feb. 19, 1958  Control of Outer Space
Budget and the Economy
Space Sciences and Exploration