National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of United States is often seen as one of the most elite and prestigious space research agencies in the world. However, it didn’t rise to this status overnight. This success has come after years of hard work that it did for improvement of our lives.
And while it’s difficult to list down all its achievements and background in one page, this brief essay tries to put the spotlight on humble beginnings of NASA and how far it has come since those early days. Let’s begin:
NASA and its Beginnings
NASA was established in 1958 by the government of President Dwight D. Eisenhower to explore the civilian applications of space science. The precursor to NASA was National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), which was being run since 1915. NACA was, however, dissolved in 1958 and its assets were transferred to newly created NASA.
While NASA is said to have been set up with the civilian purpose in mind rather than military purposes, it’s also suggested that the purpose of establishing this premier space agency was to compete with the Soviet Union in the race to space.
Soviet Union (present-day Russia) had at that time launched its Sputnik 1 spacecraft into space, which was the first ever man-made object to go into space. This left US worried as Americans feared that Soviet Union may start building weapons in space to fight a war with the US. As a result, NASA was established to start America’s own space flight and space research programs on 1 st of October 1958.
NASA and its Space Missions
Since its birth in 1958 NASA has launched 179 space missions successfully. Its early missions included Project Mercury and Gemini to test whether humans could survive in space or not, and to determine whether two spacecraft could meet and dock in space or not.
Once both these missions were successful NASA worked on its Apollo Mission and successfully sent Neil Armstrong to the moon in 1969. Over 6 million people watched that mission worldwide and it was the biggest success of that time for NASA.
Those were some of its earliest space missions. Since then NASA has come a long way. It has had 179 successful space programs out of which 166 were manned missions. Its thirteen X- 15 rocket flights have also been successful. Last, but certainly not least, it has also made a multi-purpose crew vehicle and a commercial-crew vehicle for space.
Other Benefits Provided by NASA to Mankind NASA’s research and work is not limited to space alone. It has also provided a number of other benefits to the mankind, some of which are given below:
- Aviation is a field which has benefited considerably from NASA’s work. The space research firm made many transformations in the field of aviation to significantly reduce the environmental impact of airplanes. Its research also helped in increasing aircraft security and revolutionized the propulsion technology.
- NASA has also been researching and publishing about the climate of the earth. It has warned time and again about the issue of global warming, so much that recently President Trump was advised that its climate research activities should be transferred to some other agencies.
NASA is one of those rarest institutions in the world that are doing something substantial for the mankind. Its research in the areas of space exploration, earth climate, Global warming, aviation and many other areas has been truly rewarding for the world. The government should let it continue its great work without any interference.