Announcing: Space Policy and History Forum #13, September 22, 2014

If you are in Washington, D.C., on the afternoon of September 22, 2014, please consider attending the next Space Policy and History Forum, #13 in the series, at the National Air and space Museum. Information on the forum is below.

Figure 14.1

After Apollo? Richard Nixon and the American Space Program

Space Policy and History Forum #13

by John Logsdon

Professor Emeritus

George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs

On July 20, 1969, U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong took “one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” The success of the Apollo 11 mission satisfied the goal that had been set by President John F. Kennedy just over eight years earlier—“before this decade is out, landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth.” It also raised the question What do you do next, after landing on the Moon?” It fell to President Richard M. Nixon to answer this question. The forthcoming book by John Logsdon, After Apollo? Richard Nixon and the American Space Program, traces in detail how Nixon and his associates went about developing their response. The decisions made then have defined the U.S. program of human space flight well into the twenty-first century. Those choices have thus had a much more lasting impact than did John Kennedy’s 1961 decision to go to the Moon. The factors leading to Kennedy’s decision are well understood, but that is not the case with respect to space policy-making under President Nixon. This talk, based on the forthcoming book of the same title, will provide that understanding, and thus fill in the details of a crucial period in the history of the United States space program, and particularly of its human space flight element.


Dr. John M. Logsdon is Professor Emeritus at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, where he was the founder and long-time director of GW’s Space Policy Institute. Author, among many articles, essays, and edited books, of the award-winning study John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon (2010), The Decision to Go to the Moon: Project Apollo and the National Interest (1970), and the main article on “space exploration” for the Encyclopedia Britannica, Logsdon is a sought-after commentator on space issues. In 2003 he was a member of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, and formerly was a member of the NASA Advisory Council.

Date and Time: September 22 (Monday), 4:00-5:00 P.M.

Location, Parking, and Access: The forum will be held at the National Air and Space Museum, 600 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, D.C., 4:00-5:00 p.m. Space is limited to 50 attendees, so please RSVP to Roger Launius,, and Nathan Bridges,, to get your name on the access list. This is necessary for access to the 3rd floor of the Museum, where we will be meeting in the Director’s Conference Room. You may check in and obtain a badge for access to the building at the guard desk just to the right as you enter the Independence Ave. doors. If you have any questions regarding access, please contact Roger. Parking is not available in NASM, and is limited elsewhere; we recommend using the Metro system for travel to the National Air and Space Museum—the Smithsonian and L’Enfant Plaza stops are close by.

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4 Responses to Announcing: Space Policy and History Forum #13, September 22, 2014

  1. _OM_ says:

    ….Roger, if anyone caps this forum, please ask them to consider posting it to YouTube for those of us incapable of attending the event for whatever reasons their leg(s) refuse to stand on. I for one would seriously love to at least be able to read a transcript of what is revealed and/or dis/cussed (sic) about how space exploration essentially had the rug pulled out from under it by the Nixon misadminstration in the past four decades since the Moon landings.



    • launiusr says:

      We have no plans to record this presentation. Logsdon’s book on this subject will be out in March, however, so everyone can read it then. Of course, John will be making other presentations on this subject between now and then.


  2. Agree with OM – would be great to have opportunity to hear/read this presentation. Glad to know about the book, however, which I would love to use as a source in my own book (my MS is due in May, so might be a close shave). Perhaps John would be willing to share his Powerpoint slides with interested persons?

    Awesome image, by the way. So that’s what was going on in the room when Fletcher and Nixon were playing with their model. I saw another fascinating Nixon-with-Shuttle image recently – he was holding a big model of the Flyback design while standing with some politicians near a helicopter. The caption misidentified the Booster as the Orbiter’s “transport aircraft.”



  3. Simone Odino says:

    Thanks for sharing, and too bad the event won’t be recorded – but a new book from Logsdon is always great news.


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