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Webinar: Presidential Leadership in Human Space Exploration Yesterday and Today

Tuesday, November 10, 2020
5:00pm to 6:00pm
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Online Event
  • Public Event

Join us for a talk with John M. Logsdon, Professor Emeritus of Political Science and International Affairs, Space Policy Institute Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University; Board of Directors, The Planetary Society.

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This talk will first review the decisions regarding human exploration of space made by Presidents John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan. This portion of the talk will be based on Professor Logsdon's three books tracing those decisions. Professor Logsdon will suggest that the choices regarding whether or not to send humans away from Earth to explore distant destinations made by those three presidents have had lasting impacts, and that without sustained presidential support, U.S.-government-sponsored human exploration is not feasible. Even so, four of the five presidents since Ronald Reagan have called for resuming human space exploration, but to date no human has left low Earth orbit since 1972, Presidential leadership seems to be a necessary but not sufficient condition for exploration to happen. Professor Logsdon will try to identify the principle reasons behind this reality. The talk will conclude with his speculation, given the (hopefully definitive) result of the November 3 election, on future U.S. exploration efforts.

This lecture is sponsored by The Planetary Society and the W. M. Keck Institute for Space Studies (KISS).

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