Session #3 – Presidents, Politics, Social Climate

Tuesday, November 10, 2009
1:00 – 1:50 pm EST
Session 3Roger Launius, Division of Space History, National Air and Space Museum
Allan Needell, Division of Space History, National Air and Space Museum
Margaret Weitekamp, Division of Space History, National Air and Space Museum

How did the Apollo program intersect with the whirling social and political climate of the 1960s and early 1970s? Three presidential administrations oversaw the Apollo space program, and each reacted in a different way. Senior curator Roger Launius will focus on the myth of presidential leadership during this time period and will provide context to the political challenges NASA faced with the failure of Apollo I. Curators Allan Needell and Margaret Weitekamp will discuss the fascinating intersections of Ralph Abernathy, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Moon landing and will analyze several political cartoons from the period.

Enter Conference Session

Discuss this topic with others

Discuss this topic with others


  1. Michael C. says:

    This should be an excellent conference session. Will the panelist comment on the similarities and differences between 1969 and 2009 regarding NASA and its plans for Project Apollo (1969) and Project Constellation (2009)? Thank you.

  2. Michael says:

    I have an academic background in Media and Comm and am looking for gaps in research as far as the study of media and the space program. Not sure if this is the right session, but would be nice to touch on the impact of the media during the Apollo missions. Thanks and I look forward to the session.