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Representative Teague’s Letter to President Kennedy, September 23, 1963

Representative Olin Teague wrote directly to the President arguing that the United States must get to the moon first. He also argued against cooperating with the Soviet Union. Teague chaired both the Committee on Science and Astronautics and its subcommittee on Manned Space Flight during the 93rd Congress.

Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

Representative Teague’s Letter to President Kennedy

Sending Americans into Space - 1

In the 1950s, the United States and the Soviet Union began programs for manned and unmanned scientific missions into space. The Soviets’ successful launch of the unmanned Sputnik 1 satellite in 1957 made Congress determined to jolt the U.S. space program into action. Winning the race to space became a political, scientific, and security priority. The United States intensified its efforts to be the first nation to send a man to the moon.