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National Aeronautics and
The era of space exploration began in 1957, when the Soviet Union launched the first
satellite, Sputnik, into Earth orbit October 4, 1957. The Soviet also were the first to launch a
manned spacecraft when Yuri Gagarni, made one orbit around the Earth in 1961. Americans
were electrified by the news. A year later the Soviets issued an ultimatum that the Western
Allies evacuate Berlin. Next came a proposal that Berlin become a free city. There waere fears
that the Cold War of coexistence could turn into a world war.
America also had goals they wanted to fulfil. A year later the United States Congress
passed the National Aeronautics and Space Act to promote and coordinate the United States
space program. In 1958 the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was established,
commonly referred to NASA. Shortly after NASA's founding, the launching site at Cape
Canaveral, Florida, and the Johnson Space Center in Houston Texas were planned and built.
According to the 1958 act, NASA's functions are: to conduct research on problems of
flight within and outside the Earth's atmosphere; to develop, construct, tests and operate space
vehicles; to explore space with manned and unmanned vehicles; to cooperate with other nations
on projects for the peaceful uses of space; and to publish the results of its work.
The planning and control of NASA's activities take place at the agency's headquarters in
Washington, D.C. There are four program offices that have been set up to develop and direct the
activities of NASA's several field installation: Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology,
Office of Space Science and Applications, Office of Space Flight, and Office of Space Tracking
The Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology is responsible for the continued
development of advanced technology. This office set the guidelines for NASA's objectives,
demonstrates the feasibility of the objectives, and proposes the necessary technology to carry
them out. It also coordinates activities with other agencies to prevent duplication of effort.
The office of Space Science and Applications directs the study of the nature of the
universe through research in astrophysics, biology, Earth sciences, solar system exploration,
communications, micro gravity, and information systems. This office uses a vairety of devices to
conduct its research. These include remote sensing equipment, automated spacecraft, sounding
The Office of Space Flight is responsible for the space laboratories and all facets of the
Space Transportaion System, or space shuttles of NASA. This office also directs several of the
field installations and oversees the purchase of all hardware necessary for NASA's space
The office of Space Tracking and Data Systems Provides all the information necessary
for the commencement and progress of space missions. The facilities that provide this
information support are the Deep Space Network, the Space flight Tracking and Data Network,
and the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite systems. A global communications system coordinates
the tasks of this office by linking all tracking sites, control centers, and data processing
facilities.NASA has nine chief field installations. Many people who follow space launches know
of the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston, Tex., and the John F. Kennedy Space Center
at Cape Canaveral, Fla. The Houston installation is a command control center, while the center
at Cape Canaveral is the primary launching site.
The other field installations are: Ames Research Center at Moffet Field, Calif.; Goddard Space
Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.; the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.; Langley
Research Center in Hampton, Va.; Lewis Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio; George C.
Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.; and the National Space Technology
Laboratories in Bay St. Louis, Miss.
Since it was founded, NASA has had many striking successes and at least two unfortunate
tragedies. In 1961 Alan Shepard was the first American sent into space. The following year John
Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth. The most stunning achievement was putting
two men on the moon in July 1969. The agency's first major accident was the death by fire in
1967 of astronauts Virgil Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee. The second disaster was the
explosion of the Challenger space shuttle on Jan. 28, 1986. Less than two minutes after lift-off
all seven astronauts aboard were killed, including Christa McAuliffe, the first teacher-astronaut.
Quotes talked about in this paper
Terminology mentioned in this research paper
Satellite systems, data processing,
Technology mentioned in this research paper
Apollo spacecraft, Apollo 13, Apollo 11, Mars, Apollo 8,
Names mentioned in this research paper
Senator Glenn, James A. Lovell, Jr., John L. Swigert, Aquarius, Donn F. Eisele, Yuri Gagarni, John W. Young, Challenger, Roger B. Chaffee, Edward H. White II, Alan Shepard, Frank Borman, Neil A. Armstrong, President Jhon F. Kennedy, Jr., Michael Collins, the first teacher-astronaut, Virgil Grissom, President Richard Nixon,
Organizations included in this research paper
National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Discovery mission, Johnson Space Center, Congress, Langley Research Center,
Locations referenced in this report
United States, Houston, Cape Canaveral, Soviet Union, america, Berlin, New York City, Washington, D.C., Ohio, Texas, Tex., Korea, Florida, Calif., Greenbelt, Pasadena,
Facility talked about in this term paper
National Space Technology Laboratories, Atlantis, agency’s headquarters,
Keywords mentioned in this term paper
space, flight, space flight, NASA, space shuttle, United States, spacecraft, national aeronautics and space administration, astronauts, Space Technology, United States space program, Space Center, Johnson Space Center, space shuttle discovery, space race, Space Science, space vehicle, the space, the national aeronautics and space administration, shuttle challenger, space flight tracking and data network, Apollo, Cape Canaveral, Goddard Space Flight Center, Marshall Space Flight Center, national aeronautics and space act, Challenger space shuttle, Kennedy Space Center, space exploration, John Glenn, Deep Space Network, service module, space capsule, Space Station, a space, Earth orbit, Apollo spacecraft, New York, Research Center, Soviet Union, rocket, first flight, Mars Global Surveyor, Langley Research Center, pilot, command module pilot, Aeronautics, the space race, NASA administrator, Christa McAuliffe,