President Nixon saw a more domestic usage for space program capabilities, and did not focus on the more grandiose and experimental components of the space program. Following his State of the Union address, NASA’s budget continued to decline for the rest of Nixon’s tenure and served as a clear indicator in the lack of interest in space within the federal government. During president Nixon’s term, his attention centered on Vietnam. Both the media and the government portrayed the Vietnam War as the ultimate focus of national attention. The Americans’ first landing on the moon officially marked the end of the space race and established American dominance in space. After the landing, the Soviets had reduced their space explorations to focus more attentively on nation building and spreading Communism to other nations. The lack of interest by the Soviets ultimately served as the biggest counter to the space program by giving president Nixon the outlet needed to focus his attention elsewhere. The Vietnam War proved extremely costly and consumed a large majority of the financial resources that could have been allocated toward the space program.
The Vietnam War
The most cost-consuming endeavor of the 1970’s was undeniably the Vietnam War. The Vietnam War had an even larger effect on the United States than the enormous economical implications; it also eliminated the potential for further space exploration. The 1973 cost of the Apollo program totaled 25.4 billion dollars, or in today’s money, close to 130,000,000 billion dollars. In 1973, the cost of the Vietnam War totaled 173,000,000 billion dollars, which converts to approximately 900,000,000,000 billion dollars if valued in today’s world. The Federa...
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...hs of 4 students by National Guardsmen. The press took advantage of the Kent situation in order to further their anti-war rhetoric and demonstrate how important the Vietnam War had become within the scope of American politics. The importance of the subject took focus away from the space program because of the moral implications of administering a foreign war, and Americans had a personal connection with the events in Vietnam. The Apollo program used Kennedy’s momentum and encompassed all Americans toward the completion of a certain goal, where as the war only drove Americans apart by forcing them to find an identity as either a world police force or as a peaceful and advanced country. In the end the manned space program never regained the same amount of momentum that it once had because of the pervasive, dominant influence of the Vietnam War on United States policy.
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