Updated June 2, 2023
What is the Full Form of NASA?
NASA is the world-leading space agency that millions look upto for making the impossible possible. The full form of NASA is National Aeronautical and Space Administration which came into existence on 29 July 1958. It got operational on 1 October 1958.
From opening an office of Planetary Protection to launching a spy satellite, NASA is full of wonders. Let’s walk through the journey of this International Space Agency.
NASA: The Global Space Leader
Leading globally in space exploration, NASA strives extensively to study the universe and develop advanced technologies for further space exploration.
Currently is headed by Administrator Bill Nelson, a former US. Senate and payload specialist of latitude shuttle mission 61-C in 1986.
One of the parts of the International Space Station, it is the biggest investor in potential space technologies that work for aeronautical advancement and exploration.
NASA Strategic Plan
- Broaden knowledge with new scientific discoveries.
- Establishment of human’s sustainable presence on the moon by 2025 through its Artemis program, active since 2017.
- Drive innovation to address national issues and catalyze economic growth.
- Upscale operations and skills for the current and future success in missions.
NASA Pyramid of Functioning
NASA has four functional mission directorates that govern its overall functioning:
1. Aeronautics Research
It brainstorms to develop high-tech aviation technologies. It allows making air travel seamless and advanced. It also benefits military air operations.
This center specializes in Astrophysics, or the area of expertise in studying the evolution of the universe, solar system, and Earth.
3. Space Technology
It deals with working on new developments in exploration technologies and space science.
4. Human Exploration and Operations
This center deals with everything, from launching services to space and robotic communications.
The crewed space missions are a motto of the Human Exploration and Operations center.
Infrastructure of NASA
With an annual budget of $23.2 billion as of FY 2021, the space agency has nine centers and 8 test laboratories, including Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
History of NASA
President Eisenhower founded NASA by signing the National Aeronautics and Space Act after Sputnik 1’s launch by the Soviets.
The government eventually dissolved NACA ( National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics).
With a gross budget of $100 million, it established three research facilities and two test facilities.
- Langley Aeronautical
- Ames Aeronautical
- Lewis Flight Propulsion
In December 1958, It acquired control of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, operated by the California Institute of Technology.
The Rise of Space Age
Then President John F Kennedy’s proposal that the country must send one to the moon by the end of the 1960s kickstarted its space launching journey.
First Human on Moon
Neil Armstrong was the initial to step foot on the moon in 1969. Afterward, 24 American astronauts reached the moon, of which 12 walked on it through 9 Apollo programs.
Apollo was America’s one of most expensive scientific missions, costing it more than $280 billion!
This jumpstart continued with some of NASA‘s uncrewed missions viz Viking, Galileo, Mariner, and Galileo to explore the solar system.
The Last moonwalk with Apollo 17, the last crewed mission beyond low Earth orbit, ended the Space race.
A Research Boost
This mission brought with itself enormous data and samples for research in:
- Computer and Telecommunications
- Physics, etc.
Launch of Satellites
NASA launched numerous Landsat satellites in 1972 as a part of Earth applications.
Designed to capture the Earth’s surface from space, these were a big success.
Launching communication and weather satellites, it came to the forefront with its outer Earth explorations.
Launch of the 1st Space Shuttle
NASA launched Columbia, the first space shuttle, on the 20 anniversary of the first human spaceflight.
On June 1983, the First American woman Sally Ride into space and boarded Space Shuttle Challenger STS-7 mission.
With the 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, the agency’s focus shifted to reaching Mars by 2030.
Some Areas of Research
- Human Spaceflight (2005-Present)
- Near Earth Object detection(1998 onwards)
In 2022, the Head of the Science Mission Directorate space agency announced the agency’s plan to join the hunt for unidentified objects(UFOs) and aerial phenomena.
With numerous active programs and space ventures, working at NASA is the dream of millions of astrophysics enthusiasts.
NASA has come a long way from the phenomenal in-space repair of the Hubble Space Telescope to detecting ghost lights from the galaxies with it.
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