John F. Kennedy Signed Photograph to Astronaut Wally Schirra.

John F. Kennedy Inscribed Photograph to Mercy 8 Astronaut Wally Schirra

John F. Kennedy Signed Photograph to Astronaut Wally Schirra.

KENNEDY, John F. (Wally Schirra).


Item Number: 80092

Color photograph of President Kennedy meeting with astronaut Wally Schirra and his family in the Oval Office, affixed to its original mount. Boldly inscribed, “To Commander Walter Schirra—and his family—with esteem and best wishes, John Kennedy.” Matted and framed. The entire piece measures 16.75 inches by 16.5 inches. An exceptional piece linking these two great American icons.

Schirra visited the White House on October 16, 1962, just two weeks after becoming the fifth American in space during the Mercury-Atlas 8 mission. As the only astronaut to fly in the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo space programs, Schirra’s career in NASA represents each step in answering Kennedy’s 1961 call to put a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s. The president’s unequivocal support of America’s space program was largely informed by the international politics of the Cold War, with the United States and Soviet Union battling for supremacy in spaceflight. Despite the success of Schirra’s flight, the news of America’s progress in the Space Race was soon eclipsed by the greatest challenge of the Cold War: just 45 minutes prior to meeting with Schirra, Kennedy was shown the first photographs of Soviet missiles on Cuban soil, which had been taken two days earlier during a U-2 reconnaissance flight. After the Schirra family left the Oval Office, Kennedy began planning America’s response and the Cuban Missile Crisis commenced.

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