National Aeronautics and Space Administration, more commonly known as NASA, is a U.S. government agency that manages the United States’ nonmilitary space program. It also conducts research in aircrafts. NASA employs thousands of workers and even more workers through contracts with private companies. NASA’s headquarters are located in Washington D.C. and has smaller field offices in states across the country. NASA’s programs simulate the design of new technology that could improve space travel. NASA also promotes international cooperation through projects like the International Space Station (ISS) and provides public programs to educate the public.
NASA, Public domain (link).
NASA’s history started with the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), a federal aviation research group started in 1915. Soon after the Soviet Union launched the first artificial satellite in 1957, United States’ President Eisenhower place NACA in charge of U.S. space exploration. The U.S. Congress reorganized the group as NASA in 1958.
NASA gained its importance due to the competition with the Soviet Union during the Cold War. In 1961 United States’ President John F. Kennedy, told Americans that he wanted to have a man land on the moon by 1970. NASA took on this challenge. During this time period, people called the competition between the U.S. and the Soviet Union for space exploration the Space Race. The Soviet Union and the U.S. through NASA changed leads in the race many times, but NASA won by putting the first man on the moon. In 1969 astronaut Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon. After this, NASA continued its space explorations focusing mainly on the moon and moon landings.
Since the 1980’s NASA has been working on reusable space crafts including space shuttles and places in space where people can live and work. Currently NASA is working with other nations to build the International Space Station. NASA has also launched Mars rovers and other space and planet exploratory devices.