The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is an independent agency of the U.S. Federal Government responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and space research. NASA was established in 1958, succeeding the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics.
HQ- Washington DC USA
Objective of NASA
- To expand human knowledge of space
- To lead the world in space-related technological innovation
- To develop vehicles that can carry both equipment and living organisms into space
- To coordinate with international space agencies to achieve the greatest possible scientific advancements.
- Following World War II, the United States was in direct competition with the erstwhile Soviet Union (the superpower that was disbanded into several sovereign nations including the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, the Ukraine, etc. in 1991). That period was called “Cold War”.
- It was the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik on October 4, 1957, that first put an object into orbit around Earth.
- It was followed in November by the even larger Sputnik II, which carried the dog Laika.
- Only in late January 1958, the United States could launch Explorer 1, hoisted aloft by the Army’s rocket team, using rocket technology developed from World War II.
- Though a small spacecraft weighing only 30 pounds, it discovered what are now known as the Van Allen radiation belts, named for the University of Iowa scientist Dr. James Van Allen, launching the new discipline of space science.
- Explorer 1 was followed in March, 1958 by the Navy’s Vanguard 1, 6 inches in diameter and weighing only 3 pounds.
- NASA’s birth was directly related to the launch of the Sputniks and the ensuing race to demonstrate technological superiority in space.
- Driven by the competition of the Cold War, on July 29, 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act, providing for research into the problems of flight within Earth’s atmosphere and in space.
- After a protracted debate over military versus civilian control of space, the act inaugurated a new civilian agency designated the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Major Projects executed by NASA
|The Apollo Mission||Launched in – 1968 |
It resulted in American astronauts making a total of 11 space flights and walking on the moon.
The first Apollo flight happened in 1968.
The first moon landing took place in 1969.
The last moon landing was in 1972.
Collects information on water resources of earth.
|Cassini-Huygens Operation||> 1997- 2017 |
> Mission to Saturn
> A joint endeavor of NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Italian space agency, Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI), Cassini is a sophisticated robotic spacecraft orbiting the ringed planet and studying the Saturnian system in detail.
> Cassini also carried a probe called Huygens, which parachuted to the surface of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, in January 2005 and returned spectacular results
> It entered Saturn’s atmosphere on Sept. 15, 2017 and lost communication with NASA.
–> Part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program
–> Objective was to determine the Planet’s “Habitability”
|International Space Station (ISS)||–> The ISS is a multi-nation construction project that is the largest single structure humans ever put into space.|
–> The NASA , Roscosmos (Russia) and the European Space Agency are the major partners of the space station