To Webb's dismay, Kennedy wasn't interested. If these science experiments would help Apollo get to the moon by the end of the decade, fine, but nothing else mattered. Just get there, he said, because Apollo couldn't fall behind schedule. He wasn't going to spend billions of dollars on superfluous science when all he needed was one man to set foot on the moon.
Working out the details of a lunar mission wasn't easy, and solving problems as they arose was an expensive affair. Throughout 1963, costs associated with Apollo (and its predecessor Gemini) rose steadily. But Cold War tensions were easing up a just little bit. Less than a year after the Cuban Missile Crisis, the 13-day standoff in October 1962 between the Soviets and Americans during which the world waited for the Cold War to become a ‘Hot War,' a ban was placed on high altitude, space, and under water nuclear testing.
On Sept. 20, 1963, Kennedy addressed the 18th assembly of the United Nations on what he hoped this nuclear test ban might lead to: international cooperation. That the West believes in the individual's freedom to choose his own future, he said, is fundamentally opposed to the view of the Soviet Union. And so long as this difference exists there are limits to agreements between nations; America must remain in a state of constant vigilance in the interest of protecting freedom. But living on the brink of mutually assured destruction was no way to live.