Topics: Space Shuttle, NASA, International Space Station Pages: 10 (3413 words) Published: May 8, 2013
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration or N.A.S.A. is the United States agency that deals with our Space Program, our Aeronautics Program, and our Aerospace Program. N.A.S.A. was established on July 29, 1958, became operational on October 1st, 1958 and replaced the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (N.A.C.A). Some of N.A.S.A.’s projects include the Skylab space station, the Apollo missions, and the Space Shuttle program. Currently it is developing the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and overseeing the International Space Station (I.S.S.) and the Launch Services Program (L.S.P.), which provides countdowns and launch oversight. N.A.S.A. continues to make breakthroughs in heliophysics and research throughout the solar system.

The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics or N.A.C.A was founded on March 3, 1915. Its purpose was to undertake, promote, and institutionalize aeronautical research. The N.A.C.A began as an emergency measure due to World War 1. It was mainly based off of the British Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. By early 1920, research was underway and Orville Wright had been promoted to the N.A.C.A’s board. It had also adopted a new mission, which was to promote civilian and military aviation through research. In 1922, the N.A.C.A. had four facilities functioning and 100 employees, by 1938 it had 426 employees. Some of their inventions included the Engine cowl, which reduced drag in flight, the Airfoil, which made wings generate more lift, and the Area rule which is used to reduce drag in fixed wing jets. These were all huge breakthroughs and massively helped aviation.

On July 29, 1958 President Eisenhower signed the N.A.S.A Act. This act created the N.A.S.A. we know today. On October 1, 1958 the N.A.C.A. was dissolved and formed into N.A.S.A. Following these events President Eisenhower approved N.A.S.A.’s seal in 1959. N.A.S.A. kept the N.A.C.A’s $100 million dollar budget, all of its 8000 employees and the testing and research labs. N.A.S.A.’s direction was affected by the following agencies and program: the ABMA, (Army Ballistic Missile Agency), the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), and the JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory). Additionally, N.A.S.A.’s direction was affected greatly by the Space Race, which I will explain later.

Lets turn the clocks back 2 years during the Cold War to Oct 4, 1957; the United States had been the leader in space technology. All of a sudden, you get the broadcast that the Soviet Union has successfully launched the first satellite, Sputnik, into space. This causes what is known as the Sputnik Crisis. You are now horrified, scared out of your mind and you don’t know what to do. This is the thought of the American populace at this time. Since Sputnik is now in space, what has been commonly referred to as the Space Race begins. The Space Race raged between the Soviet Union and the United States with respect to which country would get the first man into space. After months of hard work the Soviets managed to launch Yuri Gagarin {a Russian Cosmonaut (astronaut for Russia)} into space. Thus the space race was over, but there was another race to be won, the Moon Race. In order to achieve this goal, the Americans first had to create the Apollo program. This was the program that would take a man to the moon. It worked. The goal was accomplished on July 20, 1969 at 2:56, when astronaut Neil Armstrong placed his left boot on the surface of the moon and said his famous speech, “ That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” The Moon Race was over and the Americans had won. As this was transpiring, so was the end of what is known as the Cold War, which will be discussed below, and with it tensions eased, for the United States and for the Soviet Union.

The Cold War was a state of military tension between mainly the United States and the Soviet Union. Once the Cold War began one of the...
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