President John Kennedy was an avid supporter of the space program. He never saw space exploration as a competition, but as a chance to relieve the tension between the US and USSR. When speaking to USSR leaders about the lunar program, he says, "Why don't we do it together?" After the soviets put the first man in space, JFK had to make advances in the space program. In May, 1961 he increased NASA's budget by 381%, 89% this year and another 101% next year, pushing America ahead in the lunar race.