I'm doing some work today on my paper for 49th Parallel which builds on my presentation delivered in Oxford last November. That was called 'A New Frontier or just a 240,000 mile cul de sac'. It's still my working title for the printed paper, but I'm tempted to use a great Kennedy quote instead.
In a meeting held in December 1962 with NASA Administrator Jim Webb, a gathering of the great and the good from NASA management and also JFK's Budget Director, the President rather flippantly said: "I'm not that interested in space." I think it makes a pretty good title for a piece revisiting Eisenhower and Kennedy's role in US space exploration.
However, I'd also like to use the piece to put forward a view on whether anything would have been different had Nixon won the Presidential election in 1960.
While defence and the missile gap loomed large in the 1960 election campaign, I can't find much from Nixon particularly on space policy after his work on the 1958 Space Act. Would he have followed Kennedy's single-minded route to the moon? Would he have taken on Khrushchev over space? Who knows. It's fun to speculate. This morning I've spent some time putting the question to a number of renowned space historians. I will be interested in their views if they choose to come back to me.