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NASA (National Air and Space Administration)

NASA (National Air and Space Administration)

MORGAN SIMPSON

The Department of Defense (DOD) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have to date elevated aerospace technologies to great heights. In a July 31, 1915, interview in Collier's Weekly, aviation pioneer Orville Wright (18711948) said, "The greatest use of the aeroplane [airplane] to date has been as a tremendously big factor of modern warfare." His statement could also be considered true today, along with the role played by commercial transportation in world's affairs. The victory of the United States in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 illustrated the utilization of air and space to quickly quell an opponent's fighting ability. In this conflict, air and space utilization came in the form of direct air support, air to ground strategic targeting, Global Positioning System (GPS) targeting, and aerospace reconnaissance, both airplane and satellite. This utilization of air and space remains among the most powerful physical tools for ensuring national security.

NASA and DOD joint research has propelled the advances that make air and space important military assets. NASA's part in national security strategy is not as substantial as it was during NASA's first 35 years of existence (during the space race), but it still plays an important

role. As a national icon, NASA inspires nationalism in the American people, and its achievements are projected worldwide as an exhibit of America's scientific ability. A superpower nation with a space program was historically perceived as a potential threat to other nations, as seen with the United States reaction to the launching of the Soviet Union's Sputnik during the Cold War. The nation's response was the creation of a national civilian air and space agency called NASA.

NASA aeronautical research spurred numerous advances in aviation from which the military benefited; early studies regarding lifting bodies and fly-by-wire aircraft, which used NASA-developed electronics to control the inherently unstable aircraft, are two examples. Many of the aerospace research projects at the Dryden Flight Research Center (DFRC) in California are joint projects that advance aerospace engineering, science, and develop military hardware. Some of the research involves speed of sound (sonic and supersonic) studies, aeroelastic wing research, lifting body studies, unmanned vehicles, and other proprietary research.

Even though DOD and NASA have different space programs, they share numerous resources and have many joint contracts that support both the DOD program and the NASA program. These range from the simple support contracts for routine battery maintenance to expansive operations such as communications and spacecraft tracking. Both organizations share launch pads for expendable launch vehicles. Some of the expendable launch vehicles at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) at Cape Canaveral, Florida, are the Titan, Atlas, and Delta rockets. Launch and other facilities at KSC are resources shared by NASA, the Navy, and the Air Force.

NASA played a direct role in national security by providing the means to take heavy payloads into orbit. DOD has made its most direct use of NASA equipment in utilizing the Space Shuttle to bring up numerous DOD payloads. The contents of many of these payloads are classified information. There have been ten DOD dedicated shuttle launches. They are STS 51C, 51J, 27, 28, 33, 36, 38, 39, 44, and 53 (STS, which stands for Space Transportation System, also known as the Space Shuttle). Many of these missions remain secret even today, although some general knowledge about national security-based payloads has been disseminated and reported. In The Space Shuttle Roles, Missions and Accomplishments space historian David M. Harland stated that the shuttle delivered three new reconnaissance satellites in recent years. One satellite, called Lacrosse, provides all-weather vehicle-tracking capability. Another satellite included an advanced geostationary listening post. The third satellite is considered to house advanced imaging capabilities. It remains a secret as to what other DOD dedicated missions delivered to orbit or accomplished using the shuttle. Classified DOD missions continue to be carried out today, but mainly utilize the expendable launch vehicles. DOD and NASA both frequently have multiple minor payloads in addition to the major payload on a mission (both shuttle and expendable) to save costs. Some of these minor payloads are DOD sponsored payloads.

At one point, the vision of routine Space Shuttle launches was so powerful that the Air Force reluctantly agreed to phase out expendable launch vehicles. The Air Force's acceptance of the shuttle came with imposing requirements on the shuttle to launch heavy payloads of up to 60,000 pounds and to provide a cargo bay of 18 meters. The shuttle's payload mass weight has been downgraded to increase its margin of safety. The failure of the shuttle to run routinely, once a week, and the Challenger accident in 1986 motivated the DOD and NASA to change the DOD's main launching platform back to the expendable launch vehicles. Department of Defense then moved to utilizing new heavy lifting expendable launch vehicles to replace the shuttle's heavy lifting capacity. These new heavy-launch expendable launch vehicles can deliver almost 50,000 pounds to low Earth orbit.

Launch vehicles, including the Space Shuttle, utilize hardware that could be used for military applications such as the sophisticated guidance and navigations systems. The loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia in 2003 required personnel to retrieve instrumentation from the crash site to secure it to protect the secrecy of the technology.

The most well known NASA personnel are its astronauts. Astronauts have been used to carry out the DOD dedicated Space Shuttle missions. This required the astronauts to receive training on the secret payloads in order to properly execute the mission. The classified information given to the astronauts is usually kept to a minimum of relevant required knowledge. The payloads are normally loaded into the launch vehicle at the latest possible opportunity in order to maintain security. Shuttle astronauts repaired one DOD satellite via EVA (Extra Vehicular Activity), spacewalk, when it failed to start. The majority of astronauts chosen for these missions have a military background, mostly for the flight experience. It is difficult to define to what extent NASA personnel have worked on DOD payloads because of the classified nature and the numerous joint research activities.

The Air Force has had astronaut-like programs, such as the Spaceflight Engineers and the Military-Man-In-Space program. Before the shuttle, spaceflight engineers were recruited to utilize the Gemini spacecraft to go to a planned Manned Orbiting Laboratory. The orbiting laboratory was cancelled with the introduction of automated cameras on satellites. Afterwards, spaceflight engineers were Air Force pilots who would train to be the specialist that would fly on the shuttle to oversee specific DOD payloads. In January, 1985, Gary Payton (a Spaceflight Engineer) flew on the first dedicated DOD shuttle mission, STS 51C, to supervise the deployment of a classified payload. The spaceflight engineers program was later disbanded. The Military-Man-In-Space program was designed to determine the potential for humans to be used for Earth observations. Human vision and intelligence was found to be a valuable asset as remote sensors, because of man's adept ability to distinguish subtle variations in hues more accurately than cameras and film. Remote sensing from space with accurate ground truth can greatly enhance the understanding of large natural systems like forests and ocean dynamics.

NASA's main role for national security is to inspire the youth of today that will populate aerospace professions in the future. This pool of technically minded persons will give the DOD a more intelligent and numerous base from which to recruit a future workforce. High-risk technologies have the potential to provide tremendous benefit for mankind. For aeronautics, NASA research divisions are positioned to study more technologies for their own benefit as well as that of the DOD, and the nation as a whole.

FURTHER READING:

BOOKS:

Harland, David M. The Space Shuttle Roles, Missions and Accomplishments. New York: John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 1998.

ELECTRONIC:

Dryden Flight Research Center. "Flight Research Milestones." <http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/Dryden/mistone.html> (May 6, 2003).

SEE ALSO

Geospatial Imagery
Infrared Detection Devices
Near Space Environment
Satellites, Spy
Strategic Defense Initiative and National Missile Defense
USSTRATCOM (United States Strategic Command)

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NASA

NASA

The National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to "provide for research into problems of flight within and outside the Earth's atmosphere, and for other purposes." At the time of NASA's creation, it was not possible to predict what the organization would later accomplish. Although not without its critics, NASA has been one of the most respected organizations in the world for more than forty years. The impetus for the Space Act was the Cold War. The act was passed by Congress one year after the Soviet Union launched the first satellite, Sputnik, into space. From these beginnings, NASA has continued to educate and amaze the public with a nearly continuous stream of "out of this world" achievements.

NASA's accomplishments in its more than forty years of existence are led by the Apollo missions that landed humans on the Moon, the exploration of all but one of the planets in the solar system, the development of remote sensing and communications satellites, and dramatic advances in aeronautical research. NASA technology has been adapted for many non-aerospace uses by the private sector, and NASA remains a leading force in scientific research. Perhaps most importantly, NASA has served as a beacon for public understanding of science and technology as well as aerospace innovation.

Current Missions

NASA is undertaking ambitious programs such as the International Space Station to provide a permanently inhabited outpost for humankind. NASA's space science program is planning to send an armada of spacecraft to Mars to prepare for future human missions to that planet. The space agency is a "solution" organization, solving problems as mandated by the Space Act and the nation's leadership.

The National Aeronautics and Space Act declares that "it is the policy of the United States that activities in space should be devoted to peaceful purposes for the benefit of all mankind." NASA is organized into five Enterprises and four Crosscutting Processes that are responsible for carrying out the nine objectives of the Space Act:

  1. The expansion of human knowledge of phenomena in the atmosphere and space;
  2. The improvement of the usefulness, performance, speed, safety, and efficiency of aeronautical and space vehicles;
  3. The development and operation of vehicles capable of carrying instruments, equipment, supplies and living organisms through space;
  4. The establishment of long-range studies of the potential benefits to be gained from, the opportunities for, and the problems involved in the utilization of aeronautical and space activities for peaceful and scientific purposes;
  5. The preservation of the role of the United States as a leader in aeronautical and space science and technology and in the application thereof to the conduct of peaceful activities within and outside the atmosphere;
  6. The making available to agencies directly concerned with national defenses of discoveries that have military value or significance, and the furnishing by such agencies, to the civilian agency established to direct and control nonmilitary aeronautical and space activities, of information as to discoveries which have value or significance to that agency;
  7. Cooperation by the United States with other nations and groups of nations in work done pursuant to this Act and in the peaceful application of the results thereof;
  8. The most effective utilization of the scientific and engineering resources of the United States, with close cooperation among all interested agencies of the United States in order to avoid unnecessary duplication of effort; and
  9. The preservation of the United States' preeminent position in aeronautics and space through research and technology development related to associated manufacturing process.

The Agency, the Plan, and the Personnel

NASA's twenty-five-year goals and objectives are codified in the NASA Strategic Plan, most recently published in September 2000. The agency's current organizational structure is outlined in its Strategic Management Handbook. Both are available on NASA's web site: www.nasa.gov.

The space agency has been led by a total of ten administrators (nine individuals, one of whom served two separate terms) since its inception. These individuals have had the opportunity to carry out the mandate of the Space Act while being responsive to the political will of the nation, the true owners of the government's civil space activities.

Public interest in NASA's success has fluctuated. Many people assume that the decade of the 1960s were the agency's high-water mark not only for large budgets but also for public support. While this is true in the budgetary sense (see NASA Briefing chart), public opinion polls show a greater level of support twenty-five years after the Moon landings than existed at that time.

The space agency was born in the Cold War environment. Increased spending on NASA throughout the early 1960s was rationalized as an investment in beating the Russians in the space race. Thus, when the Cold War ended in the early 1990s, NASA required a new rationale for its exploration programs. The agency found that rationale partly through cooperation with the former Soviet Union. NASA seized the opportunity to partner with the Russians, and as a result cosmonauts and astronauts are living and working permanently on the International Space Station today.

NASA BRIEFING

Mission

  • To understand and protect our home planet
  • To explore the Universe and search for life
  • To inspire the next generation of explorers as only NASA can

Budget

  • 2001 Budget: $14.2 billion*
  • 1985 Budget: $11 billion*
  • 1967 Budget: $21 billion*

Staff

  • 2001 Staff: 18,000
  • 1985 Staff: 21,000
  • 1967 Staff: 36,000

*2001 dollars

In 1997 a poll revealed that joint missions involving Americans and Russians was the space program most favored by adult Americans. The public has continued to support government spending for the civilian space program. The America's Space Poll shows consistently favorable support for NASA and space activities. No federal agency has higher favorable impression ratings among the public.

This public support has led to essentially stable budgets for NASA for over two decades. Early fluctuations in the budget reflected the Cold War-fueled Apollo program and its aftermath. Since a post-Apollo low in 1975, NASA funding has climbed from $10 billion to $15 billion.

NASA has succeeded in carrying out the bold objectives of the National Aeronautics and Space Act beyond expectations. When the national leadership has set a goal and articulated a rationale, NASA has produced results. From Apollo to voyages to the outer planets and beyond the solar system, NASA has given the public the Moon and the stars.

see also Apollo (volume 3); Apollo-Soyuz (volume 3); Challenger (volume 3); Gemini (volume 3); History of Humans in Space (volume 3); Humans versus Robots (volume 3); International Space Station (volumes 1 and 3); Mercury Program (volume 3); Skylab (volume 3); Space Centers (volume 3); Space Shuttle (volume 3).

Lori Garver

Bibliography

Congressional Research Service Report for Congress. "The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA): History and Organization." June 9, 2000.

"Exploring the Unknown: Selected Documents in the History of the US Civil Space Program." Volume I: Organizing for Exploration. NASA SP 4407, 1995.

"Exploring the Unknown: Selected Documents in the History of the US Civil Space Program." Volume II: External Relationships. NASA SP 4407, 1996.

"Exploring the Unknown: Selected Documents in the History of the US Civil Space Program." Volume III: Using Space. NASA SP 4407, 1998.

McDougall, Walter A. The Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age. Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press, 1997.

"Together in Orbit: The Origins of International Participation in the Space Station." Monographs in Aerospace History 11. NASA History Office, November 1998

"US Human Spaceflight: A Record of Achievement, 1961-1998. " Monographs in Aerospace History 9, NASA History Office, July 1998.

Internet Resources

America's Space Poll. Space Foundation, April 2000. <http://www.spaceconnection.org/poll/>.

*In 2002 NASA appointed Sean O'Keefe as the agency's tenth administrator.

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National Aeronautics and Space Act (1958)

National Aeronautics and Space Act (1958)

Douglas B. Harris


Excerpt from the National Aeronautics and Space Act

  1. (a) The Congress hereby declares that it is the policy of the United States that activities in space should be devoted to peaceful purposes for the benefit of all mankind.
  2. (b) The Congress declares that the general welfare and security of the United States require that adequate provision be made for aeronautical and space activities. The Congress further declares that such activities shall be the responsibility of, and shall be directed by, a civilian agency exercising control over aeronautical and space activities sponsored by the United States.

The National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 (Space Act) (P.L. 85-568, 72 Stat. 426) established a civilian-controlled National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) headed by an administrator as well as a presidential advisory council on aeronautics. The newly created NASA assumed the responsibilities, functions, and many of the employees of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), while programs related to the military and the development of space-related weapons systems were retained by the Department of Defense with turf battles to be mediated by the President of the United States.

The immediate impetus for the Space Act was widespread fear that the United States was losing its Cold War with the Soviet Union. On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched the artificial satellite Sputnik. This technological achievement and the launch of Sputnik II the following month evoked considerable anxiety among policymakers and the American public that the Soviets had gained technological superiority in aeronautics that, coupled with evidence of military superiority (the Soviets had recently tested intercontinental ballistic missiles), portended a Cold War imbalance in the Soviets' favor. Passed as it was in the midst of the Cold War, the Space Act was seen as crucial to the preservation of the United States and its competitiveness with the Soviet Union. Indeed, the constitutional basis cited in the act was Congress's power and obligation, under Article 1, section 8 of the Constitution, to "provide for the common defense and general welfare" of the United States.

CONSIDERATION OF THE LEGISLATION

While the legislative process is generally slow, remarkably the Space Act was conceived and passed in less than one year. Both the pronounced need for a concerted national effort and both parties' political needs to emphasize, prior to the 1958 elections, their efforts to compete in the space race led to widespread, bipartisan support for the Space Act. For its part, the Eisenhower administration, embarrassed by the Soviet advance evidenced by Sputnik, hoped to be perceived as proactive in overcoming the technological deficit in the Cold War. In his State of the Union address, delivered January 9, 1958, President Eisenhower announced the creation of the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) within the Department of Defense to coordinate research into space exploration, satellite technology, and ballistic missiles.

Skeptical of the Defense Department's ability to meet the needs of the space race, top congressional Democratic leaders sought passage of a Space Act that would establish a civilian-led NASA. From December 1957 to January 1958, Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas, who chaired the Preparedness Subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee, held multiple hearings on space and astronautics. On February 6, the Senate established its Special Committee on Space and Astronautics also to be chaired by Senator Johnson. And, on March 5, the House created its Select Committee on Astronautics and Space Exploration to be chaired by Majority Leader John W. McCormack of Massachusetts. With legislative efforts already underway, on April 2 President Eisenhower acceded to Congress by sending a special message requesting that Congress create a civilian-run NASA. Both the House Select Committee and the Senate Special Committee moved quickly, reporting legislation to their full chambers on May 24 and June 11, respectively.

The content of the legislative debate on both the House and Senate floors reveals the emphasis on the Cold War and military preparedness. In the House debate on June 2, Majority Leader McCormack emphasized the future consequences of congressional action, marveling at the quick technological advance and warning that if an "enemy of the free world" were "able to get a decided advantage, that advantage might result in the destruction of the entire world or in the subjugation of the entire world to that particular nation." These sentiments were echoed on the Senate side as Senator Johnson argued to his colleagues in the June 16 legislative debate: "What Congress does with this legislation is of vital importance. The success our country enjoys in space exploration and development depends to a large degree upon the kind of organization and powers which the Congress creates. Unless our success in this new field exceeds that of totalitarian countries, human freedom may perish."

The chief objections to the Space Act, raised during the legislative debate, centered on political turf. Supporters of NACA, ARPA, and other Defense Department programs raised objections to the encompassing nature of NASA's influence. Despite these areas of disagreement, the Space Act enjoyed widespread, bipartisan support, and it passed by voice vote in the House on June 2nd and similarly by voice vote in the Senate on June 16. Differences between House and Senate versions of the bill were reconciled in conference committee and the Conference Report was approved by voice vote in both the House and the Senate on July 16. Congress completed its actions on this legislation by altering House and Senate rules to establish the House Committee on Science and Astronautics on July 21 and the Senate Aeronautical and Space Sciences Committee on July 24 in order to oversee the continuing operations of NASA. On July 29, 1958, President Eisenhower signed P.L. 85-568 into law.

NASA'S IMPACT

The Space Act recommitted the American national government to space research and development and spawned a tremendous growth in the federal government's investment in the study of aeronautics. This is most obvious in a comparison of NASA and its predecessor, the NACA. According to the NASA Historical Data Book, whereas the NACA employed 8,000 individuals and had a budget of $100 million in 1958, just a decade later, in 1967, NASA employed 36,000 individuals and had a budget of over $5 billion. This massive effort to engage in high technology research and development generated advances that spilled over into many academic, commercial, and military enterprises.

In addition to raising the very real technological and military stakes in the United States' space race with the Soviet Union, the Space Act's major impact seems to have been symbolic. Without the Space Act, the United States would not have won the space race to the moon. Indeed, perhaps the most significant impact of the Space Act can be found in how the images of NASA's successes and tragic failures have played a central role in the American collective consciousness. From the moonwalk to the Challenger and Columbia space shuttle disasters, NASA's highs and lows have been nationalizing events that are embedded in America's collective memory.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Griffith, Alison. The National Aeronautics and Space Act. Washington, DC: Public Affairs Press, 1962.

Van Nimmen, Jane, Leonard C. Bruno, and Robert L. Rosholt. NASA Historical Data Book, Volume 1: NASA Resources, 19581968. Washington, DC: NASA, 1988.

INTERNET RESOURCE

NASA History Office. <http://history.nasa.gov>.

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National Aeronautics and Space Administration

NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION

NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION (NASA) is the unit of the federal government charged with operating the nation's space exploration and aeronautics programs. The administrator of NASA, an independent agency, is appointed by the president, subject to Senate confirmation. NASA came into existence on 1 October 1958, after Congress passed the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, at the recommendation of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Many Americans had been highly alarmed when, on 4 October 1957, the Soviet Union put into orbit Sputnik, the first man-made satellite. In the midst of the Cold War, Americans feared that the Soviets might develop superior missile and space technology and use it against the United States. The new agency absorbed the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, a poorly funded research agency formed in 1915.

Even though much of NASA's early political support stemmed from America's Cold War competition with the Soviet Union, NASA was designed as an explicitly civilian agency to pursue peaceful space activities. Overseeing the military applications of space technology was left to the Department of Defense. In practice, however, the distinction has sometimes blurred. From the beginning, NASA and the military have cooperated in a variety of ways, and many astronauts have come from military backgrounds.

Projects Mercury and Gemini

NASA designed its first major program, Project Mercury, to study human abilities in space and to develop the technology required for manned space exploration. The program and the original seven astronauts received tremendous public attention, and the astronauts became national heroes. One of those seven, Alan Shepard, became the first American in space with his suborbital flight on 5 May 1961. On 20 February 1962, John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth (Soviet cosmonaut Yuri A. Gagarin was the first human in space and the first to orbit the Earth, on 12 April 1961).

President John F. Kennedy congratulated the astronauts and NASA but said that the nation needed "a substantially larger effort" in space. Speaking to Congress on 25 May 1961, Kennedy declared what that effort should be: "I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth." Kennedy admitted that the lunar program would be expensive and risky, but the public came to support it enthusiastically. Congress approved the program—called Project Apollo—with very little debate. Apollo became the most expensive civilian project in American history.

Kennedy's dramatic goal exhilarated NASA. Under the skillful leadership of administrator James Webb, NASA set out to achieve the goal. The Mercury flights (a total of six from 1961 to 1963) and the subsequent Project Gemini (ten flights from 1965 to 1966) served as preliminary steps to going to the moon. The larger and more advanced Gemini spacecraft allowed astronauts to practice maneuvers that would be essential in the Apollo program.

Project Apollo

Ironically, as NASA worked toward fulfilling its exciting goal, public support for the agency began to decline. After it became clear that the United States was not really losing the "space race" to the Soviet Union, many Americans wondered whether the lunar program was worth its cost. Then, on 27 January 1967, three astronauts conducting tests inside a sealed Apollo capsule died when a fire broke out in the spacecraft. A review board found that NASA had not paid adequate attention to safety.

After several unmanned Apollo test flights and one manned mission that orbited the Earth, NASA was ready to send a spacecraft into lunar orbit. Circling the moon on Christmas Eve, 1968, the crew of Apollo 8 beamed back to Earth spectacular pictures of the moon's surface. NASA


sent two more test flights into lunar orbit and was then ready to land on the moon. Apollo 11 lifted off on 16 July 1969 and landed on the moon four days later. As much of the world watched televised coverage in awe, Neil Armstrong became the first human to walk on the moon. Just after he stepped from his spacecraft onto the lunar surface, Armstrong spoke his immortal line: "That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind." The crew of Apollo 11 returned safely to earth on 24 July.

Apollo 12 made a smooth journey to the moon and back, but the next mission—Apollo 13—encountered serious problems. On the way to the moon in April 1970, one of the spacecraft's oxygen tanks exploded, crippling the ship and leaving doubt whether the crew could return safely. Some ingenious work by the astronauts and the NASA engineers on the ground brought the crew of Apollo 13 home alive. NASA conducted four more successful expeditions to the moon, but dwindling public interest and congressional support led to the cancellation of the final two planned flights.

The Space Shuttle

NASA's next major project was the space shuttle, which the agency promoted as a means of reliable and economical access to space. As it developed the shuttle during the 1970s, NASA also pursued the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project with the Soviets, Skylab, and a series of unmanned exploratory missions, including the Viking probe of Mars. The shuttle began flying in 1981. Although the shuttle proved not to be as efficient as NASA promised, more than twenty flights had taken place by the end of 1985.

On 28 January 1986, tragedy struck. The shuttle Challenger exploded seventy-three seconds after liftoff, killing all seven astronauts aboard. The disaster stunned NASA and the nation. A presidential commission investigating the accident sharply criticized NASA's management and safety procedures. After revamping the program, shuttle flights resumed in 1988.

The Space Station

The 1990s saw NASA make significant improvements to the shuttle program, pursue a variety of unmanned missions (including the impressive Hubble Space Telescope), continue research in aeronautics and space science, and work on its next major project, an orbiting space station. Hampered by budgetary restraints and widespread criticisms of the initial station design, the project progressed slowly. In the mid-1980s, NASA had announced that the station would be a cooperative effort. Fifteen other nations—including Russia, America's former rival in space—eventually joined with the United States to develop the International Space Station (ISS). Russia's own space station, Mir, orbited the Earth from 1986 to 2001.

In late 1998, the first of more than forty space flights needed to transport and assemble the station in orbit took place. Plans originally called for international crews of up to seven astronauts to stay on the station for three to six months at a time. However, unexpectedly high development costs, plus unexpectedly low financial contributions from Russia, forced NASA to scale back the project to save money. The first crew to inhabit the station arrived in November 2000. Assembly of the station was scheduled for completion around 2004.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bilstein, Roger E. Orders of Magnitude: A History of the NACA and NASA, 1915–1990. Washington, D.C.: NASA, 1989.

Byrnes, Mark E. Politics and Space: Image Making by NASA. West-port, Conn.: Praeger, 1994.

Launius, Roger D. NASA: A History of the U.S. Civil Space Program. Malabar, Fla.: Krieger, 1994.

Walsh, Patrick J. Echoes Among the Stars: A Short History of the U.S. Space Program. Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe, 2000.

Mark E.Byrnes

See alsoChallenger Disaster ; Hubble Space Telescope ; Space Program ; Space Shuttle .

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National Aeronautics and Space Administration

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), civilian agency of the U.S. federal government with the mission of conducting research and developing operational programs in the areas of space exploration, artificial satellites (see satellite, artificial), rocketry, and space telescopes (see Hubble Space Telescope) and observatories. It is also responsible for international cooperation in space matters. NASA came into existence on Oct. 1, 1958, superseding the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA), an agency that had been oriented primarily toward laboratory research. While the NACA budget never went higher than $5 million and its staff never exceeded 500, the NASA annual budget reached $14.2 billion in 1995, and its staff reached a maximum size of 34,000 in 1966 (21,000 in 1995), with some 400,000 contract employees working directly on agency programs.

The creation of NASA was spurred by American unpreparedness at the time the Soviet Union launched (Oct. 4, 1957) the first artificial satellite (Sputnik 1). NASA took over the Langley (including the Wallops Island, Va., launch facility), Ames, and Lewis research centers from NACA. Soon after its creation, NASA acquired from the U.S. army the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (operated by the California Institute of Technology). Later, the Army Ballistic Missile Arsenal (now the Marshall Space Flight Center) at Huntsville, Ala., was placed under NASA control.

The best-known NASA field installations are the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center near Houston, Tex., where flights are coordinated, and the John F. Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Fla., where space shuttle and other space program launches have taken place. Other facilities include the Dryden, Glenn, Goddard, and Stennis centers and NASA headquarters, in Washington, D.C. Operationally, NASA is headed by a civilian appointed by the president and has four divisions: the offices of Space Flight, Space Science Programs, Aeronautics Exploration and Technology, and Tracking and Data Acquisition. Despite some highly publicized failures, NASA has in many cases successfully completed its missions within their projected budgets; the total cost of the Apollo project, for example, wound up very close to the original $20-billion estimate. Currently, NASA oversees all space science projects and launches approximately half of all military space missions.

See T. Crouch, The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (1989); H. Benedict, NASA: The Journey Continues (2d ed., 1992); R. D. Launius et al., NASA and the Exploration of Space (1998); W. E. Burrows and W. Cronkite, The Infinite Journey (2000); H. E. McCurdy, Inside NASA: High Technology and Organizational Change in the U.S. Space Program (2000); R. E. Bilstein, Testing Aircraft, Exploring Space (2003); F. Sietzen, Jr., et al., New Moon Rising: The Making of America's New Space Vision and the Remaking of NASA (2004).

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National Aeronautics and Space Administration

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) US government agency that organizes civilian aeronautical and space research programmes. It has departments throughout the USA. The Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, is responsible for manned space flights. Space rockets, both manned and unmanned, are launched from the John F. Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida.

http://www.nasa.gov

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NASA

NASA The National Aeronautic and Space Administration, the agency of the US federal government that was established under the National Aeronautics and Space Act 1958 to plan, direct, and conduct all US aeronautical and space activities, other than those that are primarily military.

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NASA

NASA / ˈnasə/ • abbr. National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

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NASA

NASA in the US, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

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NASA

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NASA

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NASA

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NASA

NASA (or Nasa) (ˈnæsə) (USA) National Aeronautics and Space Administration

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