While the U.S. satellites and the Red Sputnik whirled in space, an argument ricocheted through the U.S. defense and scientific communities. Who ought to command the U.S.'s space offensive—civilians or the military? Last week, in a special message to Congress, the President gave his answer. Its gist: civilians.

In his request for new legislation, the President placed responsibility for the U.S.'s new space-exploration program (TIME. April 7) on a new entity to be called the National Aeronautics and Space Agency, headed by a civilian named by the President and confirmed by the Senate. If approved by Congress, the new agency would...

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