The History of NASA: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration

The History of NASA: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration


NASA aka National Aeronautics and Space Administration was launched by the Congress and the President of the United States on October 1, 1958 to see to the problems of flight in and outside of the atmosphere of the Earth. In a few months of its creation, NASA started conducting space missions and carried out quite a lot of major programs during its first 20 years of establishment.

The Early Spaceflights

Project Mercury: This was the first high-profile program from NASA that involved human spaceflight. It was designed to find out if humans could survive the severity of spaceflight. Project Mercury accomplished its intention of positioning piloted spacecraft into Earth orbit and repossessing the astronauts safely, with six flights.

Project Gemini: This project expanded the human spaceflight program and it was put together on the accomplishments of the Mercury project and expanded the human spaceflight program of NASA to spacecraft that was made for two astronauts. On the other hand, the 10 Gemini flights offered engineers and scientists of NASA with additional data on docking, established rendezvous, perfected reentry and splashdown processes and weightlessness in space. It was in Gemini 4 of June 3, 1965 that one of the highlights of the program happened. This was the day Edward H. White, Jr. turned out to be the number one U.S. astronaut to carry out a spacewalk.

Traveling to the Moon

Project Apollo: The human exploration of the Moon, popular called Project Apollo was the extraordinary realization of NASA during its early years of establishment. On May 25 1961, Project Apollo turned out to be the priority of NASA. Coincidentally, this was the time President John F. Kennedy pronounced that he opined that the America nation should devote itself to accomplishing the goal.

Space Shuttle: NASA went back to human spaceflight in 1981 with the introduction of the Space Shuttle, after six years break. On April 12, 1981, STS-1, which was the Shuttle’s earliest undertaking, took off, signifying that it could take off perpendicularly and move smoothly to an unpowered airplane-like landing. F. Story Musgrave together with Donald H. Peterson carried out the first Shuttle EVA on STS-6 on April 4 to 9, 1983, to examine latest spacesuits and work in the Shuttle’s cargo bay.

On June 18, 1983, the STS-7 was lifted off by Sally K. Ride, the number one American woman to fly in space. This development was another early landmark of the shuttle program. However, there was an explosion of the liquid fuel tank of the Challenger orbiter 73 seconds after launch on 28thJanuary, 1986, as a result of a leakage inside the joints of two Solid Rocket Boosters attached to it. All the 7 crew members on board lost their lives in this accident.

As NASA and its outworkers worked to revamp the Rock-hard Rocket Boosters and implement management reforms in order to boost safety, the Shuttle program was grounded for more than two years. The Shuttle went back flight successfully on September 29, 1988, while NASA flew a total number of 87 successful missions.

However, February 1, 2003 witnessed another catastrophe as the Columbia orbiter disintegrated almost 15 minutes before it was to have landed, on its way back to Earth on the STS-107 mission. After this ugly incidence, NASA went back to flight with the STS-114 mission in summer 2005. The three Shuttle orbiters in the fleet are Endeavor, Discovery and Atlantis.

Final Thoughts

NASA has achieved quite a lot of great technological and scientific feats since its origin in 1958. Its technology has been tailored for a lot of non-aerospace uses by the private sector. As far as scientific research and stimulating public interest in aerospace exploration is concerned, NASA remains a foremost force to reckon with.