On Nov. 15, 1961, JFK suspended the 8-hour workday at this agency, saying its work needed to proceed “with all possible speed”

The Final Jeopardy round always promises a challenge, beckoning contestants to delve deep into their reservoirs of knowledge.

On May 1, 2024, the category “Executive Orders” saw participants grappling with a historical query involving President John F. Kennedy. The clue provided was: “On Nov. 15, 1961, JFK suspended the 8-hour workday at this agency, saying its work needed to proceed ‘with all possible speed‘.”

This clue required contestants to connect Kennedy’s executive action with a specific time in history, underscoring the urgency and significance of the agency’s mission during his presidency.

What is NASA?

The correct response to this clue is “What is NASA?” In the early 1960s, the United States was deeply entrenched in the Space Race, a period marked by intense competition with the Soviet Union to achieve significant milestones in space exploration. President Kennedy, recognizing the strategic importance of winning the Space Race, issued an executive order to suspend the standard 8-hour workday limitation at NASA. This decision underscored the necessity of accelerating their efforts, which included the ambitious goal of landing a man on the moon.

Kennedy’s directive was not merely about increasing hours; it was a strategic move to enhance productivity and ensure that the United States did not fall behind in its extraterrestrial endeavors. This executive order facilitated a period of intense and focused work that was crucial for NASA during a critical time in the Space Race.

Historical Context and Impact

The suspension of the 8-hour workday at NASA was a significant event that contributed to several key achievements in space exploration. Following Kennedy’s order, NASA employees worked longer hours, which contributed to the success of various missions, including the Apollo program. This intense period of work not only propelled the United States to new heights in space exploration but also fostered innovations and technological advancements.

Kennedy’s decision reflected his administration’s commitment to not just participating in the Space Race, but leading it. The phrase “with all possible speed” was a clear indication of the urgency and priority Kennedy placed on America’s space objectives. This executive order was a pivotal moment in the 1960s that not only defined his presidency but also the future of American space exploration.

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