Margaret Lazarus Dean talks about the anomaly that was the NASA of the 1960s.
“Some years, during the run-up to Apollo, Congress voted to allocate NASA a larger budget than NASA had requested. The effects of this kind of public support were unprecedented outside of war, and may never be seen again. As important as this financial support was for the early days of Apollo, it also created a tragically inaccurate impression within NASA that its projects would continue to be funded at this rate. In the mid-sixties, everyone thought the construction of the Kennedy Space Center was taking place at the start of an exciting new era. No one could have known that in fact 1966 was to represent the zenith of that unanimity. The public’s imagination for fulfilling President Kennedy’s challenge would prove more shortsighted than anyone at NASA had hoped.” [http://blog.longreads.com/2015/07/07/well-aimed-and-powerful/ post]
Lazarus connects this history to our radically different times, exemplified by moon landing hoax conspiracists. See Buzz Aldrin’s Punch
Abandoned Orbiters also show the sad decay of national space ambitions.
1966 was the year of Great Society backlash. Did this backlash kill NASA? See The Sanitized Lexicon of 1966