[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text
version below transcribed directly from audio]
Mr. Secretary, Governor, Mr. Vice President, Senator, Members of the
Congress, members of the military, ladies and gentlemen:
For more than three years, I've spoken about
the New Frontier. This is not a
partisan term, and it's not the exclusive property of Republicans or
Democrats. It refers, instead, to this Nation's place in history, to the
fact that we do stand on the edge of a great new era, filled with both
crisis and opportunity, an era to be characterized by achievement and by
challenge. It is an era which calls for action and for the best efforts
of all those who would test the unknown and the uncertain in every phase
of human endeavor. It is a time for pathfinders and pioneers.
I have come to Texas today to salute an outstanding group of pioneers,
the men who man the
Brooks Air Force Base School of Aerospace Medicine
Aerospace Medical Center.
It is fitting that San Antonio should be the site of this center and
this school as we gather to dedicate this complex of buildings. For this
city has long been the home of the pioneers in the air. It was here that
Sidney Brooks, whose memory we honor
today, was born and raised. It was here that
Charles Lindbergh and
Claire Chennault, and a host of others,
who, in World War I and World War II and Korea, and even today have
helped demonstrate American mastery of the skies, trained at
Randolph Field, which form a major part of aviation history. And in
the new frontier of outer space, while headlines may be made by others
in other places, history is being made every day by the men and women of
the Aerospace Medical Center, without whom there could be no history.
Many Americans make the mistake of assuming that space research has no
values here on earth. Nothing could be further from the truth. Just as
the wartime development of radar gave us the transistor, and all that it
made possible, so research in space medicine holds the promise of
substantial benefit for those of us who are earthbound. For our effort
in space is not, as some have suggested, a competitor for the natural
resources that we need to develop the earth. It is a working partner and
a coproducer of these resources. And nothing makes this clearer than the
fact that medicine in space is going to make our lives healthier and
happier here on earth.
Give me --
I give you three examples: first, medical space research may open up new
understanding of man's relation to his environment. Examination of the
astronaut's physical and mental and emotional reactions can teach us
more about the differences between normal and abnormal, about the causes
and effects of disorientation, [about changes] in metabolism which could
result in extending the life span. When you study [the] effects on our
astronauts of exhaust gases which can contaminate their environment, and
seek ways to alter these gases so to reduce their toxicity, you
are working on problems similar to those we face in our great urban centers,
which themselves are being corrupted by gases, and which must be cleared.
And second, medical space research may revolutionize the technology and
the techniques of modern medicine. Whatever new devices are created, for
example, to monitor our astronauts, to measure their heart activity,
their breathing, their brain waves, their eye motion, at great distances
and under difficult conditions, will also represent a major advance in
general medical instrumentation. Heart patients may even be able to wear
a light monitor which will sound a warning if their activity exceeds
certain limits. An instrument recently developed to record automatically
the impact of acceleration upon an astronaut's eyes will also be of help
to small children who are suffering miserably from eye defects, but are
unable to describe their impairment. And also by the use of instruments
similar to those used in
Project Mercury, this Nation's private as well
as public nursing services are being improved, enabling one nurse now to
give more critically ill patients greater attention than they ever could
in the past.
And third, medical space research may lead to new safeguards against
hazards common to many environments. Specifically, our astronauts will
need fundamentally new devices to protect them from the ill effects of
radiation which can have a profound influence upon medicine and man's
relations to our present environment.
Here at this center we have the laboratories, the talent, the resources
to give new impetus to vital research in the life centers. I'm not
suggesting that the entire space program is justified alone by what is
done in medicine. The space program stands on its own as a contribution
to national strength. And last Saturday at Cape Canaveral, I saw our new
Saturn C-1 rocket booster, which, with
its payload, when it rises in December of this year, will be, for the
first time, the largest booster in the world, carrying into space the
largest payload that any country in the world has ever sent into space.
That's what I consider.
I think the United States should be a leader. A country as rich and
powerful as this which bears so many burdens and responsibilities, which
has so many opportunities, should be second to none. And in December,
while I do not regard our mastery of space as anywhere near complete,
while I recognize that there are still areas where we are behind -- at
least in one area, the size of the booster -- this year I hope the
United States will be ahead. And I'm for it.
We have a long way to go.
Many weeks and months and years of long, tedious work lies [sic] ahead. There
will be setbacks and frustrations and disappointments. There will be, as
there always are, pressures in this country to do less in this area as
in so many others, and temptations to do something else that's perhaps
But this research here must go on.
This space effort must go on.
The conquest of space must and will go ahead. That much we know. That
much we can say with confidence and conviction.
Frank O'Connor, the Irish writer, tells
in one of his books how, as a boy, he and his friends would make their
way across the countryside, and when they came to an orchard wall that
seemed too high and too doubtful to try and too difficult to permit
their voyage to continue, they took off their hats and tossed them over
the wall -- and then they had no choice but to follow them.1
This Nation has tossed its cap over the wall of space, and we have no
choice but to follow it. Whatever the difficulties, they will be
overcome. Whatever the hazards, they must be guarded against. With the
vital help of this Aerospace Medical Center, with the help of all those
who labor in the space endeavor, with the help and support of all
Americans, we will climb this wall with safety and with speed -- and we
shall then explore the wonders on the other side.