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Additional resources for John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon
They chose to prepare their report without any briefings or other formal contact with NASA and DOD. ”58 On January 10, 1961, president-elect Kennedy met in Lyndon Johnson’s Senate office with Johnson, members of the Wiesner panel, Senator Kerr, and Representative Overton Brooks, chairman of the House Committee on Science and Astronautics, to be briefed on the panel’s report. 59 The twenty-four page report was admittedly a “hasty review” aimed at providing a “survey of the program” and identifying “personnel, technical, MAKING THE TRANSITION 33 or administrative problems” requiring prompt attention.
Wiesner had been a member of PSAC since its inception in 1957, but had not served on any of the PSAC subcommittees dealing with space issues. He had, 32 J O H N F. K EN N E DY A N D T H E R A C E T O T H E M O O N however, most likely heard many of the briefings on space issues given to the overall committee. During the presidential campaign, Kennedy had sought his advice primarily on a possible nuclear test ban and other arms control issues. By the time the task force began its work, Wiesner had emerged as Kennedy’s most likely choice to be the presidential science adviser.
31 On August 31, Johnson, speaking not only as Senate majority leader but also by then as the Democratic candidate for vice president, justified his opposition to changing the Space Act in a memorandum inserted in the Congressional Record: “One fact is of overriding importance. A new President will take office on January 20, 1961—less than five months from now. The next President could well have different views as to the organization and function of the military and civilian space programs. , Lyndon Johnson.