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U.S. “Well Behind” Russians in Space Race, Says JFK

Aug. 22, 1962 - The United States is “well behind” the Soviet Union in the space race, President Kennedy asserted today, but he repeated his belief that the nation would forge ahead of the Russians before the end of this decade. At his first news conference since the two newest Soviet astronauts circled the earth in adjacent orbits last week, the President candidly discussed the current disadvantage of the U.S. in space. “Anybody who attempts to suggest that we’re not behind” the Russians is misleading the public, the President said. But the Soviet feat apparently has not changed the President’s original estimate that the U.S. would be the first to put a man on the moon. In his remarks today, he laid heavy emphasis on the “tremendous effort” of the U.S. in “trying to overtake” the Russians despite a late start. This effort is evident in the fact that 40% of all American research and development funds are being spent on space work, he said. This year the Administration has submitted a space budget “which was greater than the combined eight space budgets of the previous eight years,” he said.


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