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NASA Remains Optimistic

Aug. 13, 1962 - Leaders of this country’s space program are still optimistic about chances of being the first to land astronauts on the moon. The Soviet Union’s success in putting two manned spacecraft into orbit close together has neither surprised them nor caused great concern. Space officials said today that a rendezvous and the actual joining of spaceships in flight, while an essential feature of the U.S. lunar program and any parallel Soviet effort, are not the “pacing item” in the race to the moon. The technical problem that will set the pace, they say, is the development of mammoth rockets, able to launch the lunar expeditions. So far, there is no solid evidence that the Russians are ahead in producing such rockets. In fact, it is widely felt that the U.S. rocket program is at least on a par with the Soviet Union’s. Officially, the U.S. is committed to achieving a manned lunar landing within this decade. Unofficially, it is believed that this may be accomplished by 1967.

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