National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
NASA seal.svg
NASA logo.svg
Flag of the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration.svg
Agency overview
FormedJuly 29, 1958; 61 years ago (1958-07-29)
Preceding agency
JurisdictionUS Federal Government
HeadquartersTwo Independence Square, Washington, D.C.,
United States
38°52′59″N 77°0′59″W / 38°52′59″N 77°0′59″W / 38.88306; -77.01639[4]
Agency executives

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA, ə/) is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research.[note 1]

NASA was established in 1958, succeeding the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The new agency was to have a distinctly civilian orientation, encouraging peaceful applications in space science.[7][8][9] Since its establishment, most US space exploration efforts have been led by NASA, including the Apollo Moon landing missions, the Skylab space station, and later the Space Shuttle. NASA is supporting the International Space Station and is overseeing the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, the Space Launch System and Commercial Crew vehicles. The agency is also responsible for the Launch Services Program which provides oversight of launch operations and countdown management for unmanned NASA launches.

NASA science is focused on better understanding Earth through the Earth Observing System;[10] advancing heliophysics through the efforts of the Science Mission Directorate's Heliophysics Research Program;[11] exploring bodies throughout the Solar System with advanced robotic spacecraft missions such as New Horizons;[12] and researching astrophysics topics, such as the Big Bang, through the Great Observatories and associated programs.[13]


William H. Pickering, (center) JPL Director, President John F. Kennedy, (right). NASA Administrator James E. Webb (background) discussing the Mariner program, with a model presented.

From 1946, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) had been experimenting with rocket planes such as the supersonic Bell X-1.[14] In the early 1950s, there was a challenge to launch an artificial satellite for the International Geophysical Year (1957–58), resulting in the American Project Vanguard among others. After the Soviet launch of the world's first artificial satellite (Sputnik 1) on October 4, 1957, the attention of the United States turned toward its own fledgling space efforts. The US Congress, alarmed by the perceived threat to national security and technological leadership (known as the "Sputnik crisis"), urged immediate and swift action; President Dwight D. Eisenhower and his advisers counseled more deliberate measures. On January 12, 1958, NACA organized a "Special Committee on Space Technology", headed by Guyford Stever.[9] On January 14, 1958, NACA Director Hugh Dryden published "A National Research Program for Space Technology" stating:[15]

A short documentary about the beginnings of NASA

It is of great urgency and importance to our country both from consideration of our prestige as a nation as well as military necessity that this challenge [Sputnik] be met by an energetic program of research and development for the conquest of space ... It is accordingly proposed that the scientific research be the responsibility of a national civilian agency ... NACA is capable, by rapid extension and expansion of its effort, of providing leadership in space technology.[15]

While this new federal agency would conduct all non-military space activity, the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) was created in February 1958 to develop space technology for military application.[16]

On July 29, 1958, Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act, establishing NASA. When it began operations on October 1, 1958, NASA absorbed the 43-year-old NACA intact; its 8,000 employees, an annual budget of US$100 million, three major research laboratories (Langley Aeronautical Laboratory, Ames Aeronautical Laboratory, and Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory) and two small test facilities.[17] A NASA seal was approved by President Eisenhower in 1959.[18] Elements of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency and the United States Naval Research Laboratory were incorporated into NASA. A significant contributor to NASA's entry into the Space Race with the Soviet Union was the technology from the German rocket program led by Wernher von Braun, who was now working for the Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA), which in turn incorporated the technology of American scientist Robert Goddard's earlier works.[19] Earlier research efforts within the US Air Force[17] and many of ARPA's early space programs were also transferred to NASA.[20] In December 1958, NASA gained control of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a contractor facility operated by the California Institute of Technology.[17]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Nasa
Alemannisch: NASA
አማርኛ: ናሳ
Ænglisc: NASA
العربية: ناسا
aragonés: NASA
asturianu: NASA
azərbaycanca: NASA
تۆرکجه: ناسا
বাংলা: নাসা
Banjar: NASA
Bân-lâm-gú: NASA
беларуская: НАСА
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: NASA
भोजपुरी: नासा
български: НАСА
bosanski: NASA
brezhoneg: NASA
català: NASA
čeština: NASA
Cymraeg: NASA
dansk: NASA
Deutsch: NASA
eesti: NASA
Ελληνικά: NASA
español: NASA
estremeñu: NASA
euskara: NASA
فارسی: ناسا
føroyskt: NASA
Frysk: NASA
Gaeilge: NASA
Gaelg: NASA
Gàidhlig: NASA
galego: NASA
ગુજરાતી: નાસા
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: NASA
հայերեն: ՆԱՍԱ
Արեւմտահայերէն: ՆԱՍԱ
हिन्दी: नासा
hrvatski: NASA
interlingua: NASA
italiano: NASA
עברית: נאס"א
Jawa: NASA
ಕನ್ನಡ: ನಾಸಾ
къарачай-малкъар: НАСА
ქართული: NASA
қазақша: НАСА
Kiswahili: NASA
kurdî: NASA
ລາວ: ນາຊາ
Lëtzebuergesch: NASA
lietuvių: NASA
Limburgs: NASA
lumbaart: NASA
magyar: NASA
मैथिली: नासा
македонски: НАСА
മലയാളം: നാസ
मराठी: नासा
მარგალური: ნასა
مصرى: ناسا
مازِرونی: ناسا
Minangkabau: NASA
монгол: NASA
မြန်မာဘာသာ: နာဆာ
नेपाली: नासा
Napulitano: NASA
norsk: NASA
norsk nynorsk: NASA
Oromoo: NASA
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: NASA
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਨਾਸਾ
پنجابی: ناسا
Papiamentu: NASA
پښتو: ناسا
Plattdüütsch: NASA
polski: NASA
português: NASA
Qaraqalpaqsha: NASA
română: NASA
русский: НАСА
संस्कृतम्: नासा
Scots: NASA
Seeltersk: NASA
sicilianu: NASA
සිංහල: නාසා
Simple English: NASA
slovenščina: NASA
Soomaaliga: NASA
کوردی: ناسا
српски / srpski: Наса
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: NASA
Sunda: NASA
suomi: Nasa
svenska: NASA
Tagalog: NASA
татарча/tatarça: NASA
ไทย: นาซา
Türkçe: NASA
українська: НАСА
اردو: ناسا
Tiếng Việt: NASA
Winaray: NASA
ייִדיש: NASA
Yorùbá: NASA
žemaitėška: NASA