From Tally Ho to space | News


Selected for the post in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy, Webb guided NASA through the Apollo program, resigning on the change of administration just months before Neil Armstrong made his “giant leap for humanity” on the surface of the Moon in 1969.

Webb had been reluctant to accept the appointment as director of NASA. When asked in a 1985 interview what had changed his mind, he described his meeting with President Kennedy and said: What about international political issues? “I want you to take care of this because these are the politics that interest me in my job as president.” “

Webb’s daughter Sally, who now lives in California, said she found what he had done with NASA incredible, pointing out that Webb’s college degree was in education. He had no scientific training, although “he did a lot of study on his own.” Additionally, she said he had to deal with big egos among the scientists and astronauts he worked with.

“He had to balance this stuff,” she said.

What stands out, she says, is her integrity and honesty. “He was very patriotic,” she said, and “he loved North Carolina”.

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