Happy Birthday, NASA!

for Travel - 17hte - The Kennedy Space Center Up-Close Tour takes visitors inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (pictured here), which is one of the largest buildings in the world and has been off limits to outsiders for more than 30 years, and offers close-up views of rockets and launch pads. (NASA)
The Kennedy Space Center Up-Close Tour takes visitors inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (pictured here), which is one of the largest buildings in the world and has been off limits to outsiders for more than 30 years.
NASA

On July 29, 1958 under President Dwight D. Eisenhower, US Congress created NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, according to The History Channel. NASA said their vision was: “To reach for new heights and reveal the unknown so that what we do and learn will benefit all humankind.”

In October 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik I, which was the world’s first artificial satellite and weighed about 183.9 pounds. It took 98 minutes to orbit Earth, according to NASA.

What would become known as ”The Space Race” was officially on.

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In December, according to The History Channel, the US tried to launch a satellite of their own called Vanguard, but it exploded and never flew into orbit.

By January 1958, however, the US successfully launched satellite Explorer I and a few months later, NASA was born.

NASA replaced the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA), which was put into place in 1916 as a “civilian government” organization performing research into aviation.

What did incorporating NACA entail?

“its 8,000 employees, an annual budget of $100 million, three major research laboratories-Langley Aeronautical Laboratory, Ames Aeronautical Laboratory, and Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory-and two smaller test facilities.”

Though the bill was passed in July 1958, NASA began its official operations in October 1958.

NASA would go on to:

- Explore Earth’s moon with Apollo.

- Send robotic missions to various planets.

- Create a space shuttle to take astronauts to and from space.

- Make a space station, now known as the International Space Station.

Will establishing human settlements on mars be next?