NASA, Rice University Mark 60th Anniversary of John F. Kennedy Speech

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  August 23, 2022 
NASA, Rice University Mark 60th Anniversary of John F. Kennedy Speech
graphic with image of JFK, the number 60, and the words "We choose to go to the Moon."
Credits: NASA

NASA and Rice University in Houston will host multiple events in September to celebrate the 60th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s historic speech at Rice Stadium, rallying the nation to land astronauts on the Moon before the end of the decade and bring the crew safely back to Earth.

The agency will provide live coverage of the final event at noon EDT (11 a.m. CDT) on Monday, Sept. 12, commemorating the speech on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson will be the keynote speaker, and the program will include other agency officials, dignitaries, and local and national elected officials.

Gates to the stadium will open to the public at 9 a.m. CDT Monday. The event will feature exhibits from NASA, Space Center Houston, Rice University, and space industry partners, who will commemorate Kennedy’s historic challenge and unprecedented commitment of resources that set a young space agency on the path to achieve the goal with the successful landing of Apollo 11 astronauts on the Moon on July 20, 1969.

Today, NASA is ready to launch the agency’s Artemis I test flight to the Moon, a major step forward in a new era of human deep space exploration. NASA is targeting no earlier than Monday, Aug. 29, for the launch of the Space Launch System rocket to send the Orion spacecraft on the Artemis I flight test around the Moon and back to Earth.

“In 1962, President Kennedy delivered a historic speech at Rice University on his groundbreaking plans for the new frontier and sending the first humans to the Moon. Sixty years later, we choose to go to the Moon – and on to Mars,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “We are gearing up for the first test flight of the most powerful rocket in the world for Artemis I. This time, we’re going to the Moon with the goal of establishing a human presence to learn how to live and work in deep space to prepare for the first human missions to Mars. We continue to build on the legacy of the Apollo program as the Artemis Generation prepares to go farther into the cosmos than ever before.”

Through Artemis missions, NASA will land the first woman and the first person of color on the Moon, using innovative technologies to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before for the benefit of all. In collaboration with commercial and international partners, NASA will establish the first long-term presence on the Moon. Then, humanity will use what it learns on and around the Moon to begin the next giant leap: sending the first astronauts to Mars.

“We look forward to welcoming the community to Rice University to commemorate President Kennedy’s historic speech and the important role Houston has played in shaping our nation’s space program,” said Vanessa Wyche, director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. “NASA’s Apollo Program captured the world’s attention and demonstrated the power of America’s vision and technology to ignite generations of great achievements, exploration, and scientific discovery. Our leadership in space continues, as we move forward to the Moon once more and inspire the next generation of explorers, who will carry us to even greater heights.”

Additional events and activities include:

Saturday, Sept. 10

  • 10 a.m. CDT (11 a.m. EDT) – NASA pavilion and Industry and Research exhibits open to the public, free of charge.
  • 6:30 p.m. CDT (7:30 p.m. EDT) -- Commemorative football game between the Rice University Owls and the McNeese State University Cowboys in Rice Stadium

Sunday, Sept. 11

  • 10 a.m. CDT (11 a.m. EDT) – Community Day: NASA and industry exhibits open to the public

Monday, Sept. 12

  • 11 a.m. CDT (Noon EDT) – As noted above, NASA will provide live coverage of the main event. Participants will include:
    • NASA Administrator Bill Nelson
    • Bob Cabana, NASA associate administrator
    • Vanessa Wyche, director, NASA Johnson Space Center
    • Shannon Walker, NASA astronaut
    • Reggie DesRoches, president, Rice University
    • Dr. David Alexander, director, Rice Space Institute (master of ceremonies)
    • Jean-Loup Chrétien, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut, retired
    • Avalon Hogans, Houston’s youth poet laureate

Rice University will provide details for media accreditation at its venue soon. Get additional information about the event, exhibits, and related activities online at:



Press Contacts

Jackie McGuinness / Cheryl Warner
Headquarters, Washington
jackie.mcguinness@xxxxxxxx / cheryl.m.warner@xxxxxxxx

Kelly Humphries / Dylan Connell 
Johnson Space Center, Houston
kelly.o.humphries@xxxxxxxx / dylan.b.connell@xxxxxxxx


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