Sunday, November 22, 2015

Tonight's Sky for November 22: Remembering NASAs Greatest Champion

It was on this date in 1963 that NASA lost its greatest champion when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. When boldly declaring that America would go to the Moon by the end of the decade, President Kennedy kicked the Space Race into high gear and made it a matter of national pride to get to the Moon. Result: NASA was given pretty much anything it needed to make the president's dream a reality.

Today, it is a common misconception that NASA is a huge part of the federal budget, with some respondents to surveys stating that they believe that NASA could account for as much as 20% of the federal budget. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. As of 2015, NASA's budgetary allowance was only about 0.5% the federal budget. In the 60s? The story was very different. In the lead-up to Apollo, NASA got a lot more money, peaking at 4.4% of the total federal budget in 1966.

Today, such a thing would be unheard of but today, the idea of an entire nation, regardless of political affiliation, rallying behind the space program, is just as unheard of, too. 

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