Professor Logsdon enjoys speaking to diverse audiences.

In recent months, he has spoken in the United States at the National Air and Space Museum, John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, and Space Center Houston, and overseas at the Space Futures Forum in Madrid, International Space University in Strasbourg, France, and the French Institute for International Relations and European Space Agency in Paris, France.

If you are interested in inviting him to speak to your organization, please click the button below.


Past Talks

Kennedy, Nixon, and the American Space Program

At International Space University, Haifa, Israel, July 2016

John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon

At California Institute of Technology, April 2013

John F. Kennedy, Project Apollo, and the 21st Century Space Program

At Space Center Houston

Among potential speaking topics are:


Once We Went to the Moon. Why did We Go? Why Did We Stop?

The Trump administration has set an early return to the Moon with the United States leading a public-private and international partnership as its first goal for human spaceflight. The United States sent 12 men to walk on the Moon between 1969-1972, then stopped. There have been two prior attempts to have the United States once again send humans to the Moon since the end of Project Apollo in 1972. Will this third try succeed?

Three Presidents and the U.S. Space Program

Based on Professor Logsdon’s three recent books, this lecture discusses the comparative influence of Presidents Kennedy, Nixon, and Reagan on the course of U.S. activities in space.

Was Building the Space Shuttle a Mistake?

This lecture will start by building on material from my book, After Apollo? Richard Nixon and the American Space Program, which recounts the contentious decision process that led Nixon to approve developing the Space Shuttle which, Nixon said, “would revolutionize space travel by routinizing it.” It will also incorporate material from my most recent book, Ronald Reagan and the Space Frontier, discussing how the Reagan administration set the policy framework for space shuttle operations both before and after the Challenger accident. The lecture will assess both the achievements of the Shuttle in its thirty years of operation and compare those achievements both against the promises made as the Shuttle was approved and the impact on the space program overall of making the Shuttle its central focus. It will discuss the two Shuttle accidents, in 1986 and 2003; I was a member of the 2003 Columbia Accident Investigation Board.

Are We on Our Way to Mars?

The idea of human travel to long-standing a long-standing vision in fiction and fact. There have in the United States been several proposals over the past fifty years to make a human Mars mission the focus of space exploration, and that goal remains the long-term objective of current U.S. government human spaceflight, with the first missions sometime in the 2030s. In addition, there have been several private sector proposals to mount Martian missions. But there are many technical, financial, and political obstacles to be overcome before such missions become reality. This lecture will assess the prospects for humans reaching Mars in the 21st century.

Billionaires and Space

One of the major developments in space activity in recent years is the rapidly increasing involvement of the private sector. While there are many small entrepreneurial space ventures seeking a foothold in the space business, most attention has been given to the engagement of billionaires such as Elon Musk (SpaceX), Jeff Bezos (Blue Origin), Richard Branson (Virgin Galactic), and Robert Bigelow (Bigelow Aerospace). This lecture will discuss the prospects for outer space becoming a focus for a variety of profit-making activities, from carrying tourists on space cruises to extracting valuable resources from asteroids or the Moon.

A New Space Race?

In addition to the entry of private sector actors into the space sector, a rapidly increasing number of national governments or regional alliances such as the European Space Agency are developing comprehensive space capabilities. China in 2003 became the third country, after Russia and the United States, to be able to lift humans into orbit; it plans to build its own space station in the early 2020s and many think Chinese mission to the Moon will follow soon after. Japan and Europe have ambitious space program, India has sent a robotic mission to Mars and is soon to test a crew-carrying spacecraft, and even the United Arab Emirates is planning an early mission to Mars. The lecture will discuss whether all these activities will result in space become a crowded and competitive arena of activity, whether what is happening in space is best understood as a new “race,” and  whether there can be cooperation alongside competition.