The Era of Space Exploration of NASA
13 Pages
3242 Words

National Aeronautics and

Space Administration

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 continu...

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