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National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

  • By: Nicole Simons
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

In 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was established by President Dwight Eisenhower partially as an extension of the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA) and also in response to the Soviet Union's first satellite launch. Under the National Aeronautics and Space Act, NASA is a federally funded public agency with four primary mission directorates:

  • Direct the development and validation of exploration systems
  • Improve modern aeronautics
  • Create and maintain space operations
  • Explore the Earth, solar system, and universe

In accordance with these mission directorates, NASA is responsible for funding projects that advance each of these goals. Two of the first successful projects were the Mercury and Gemini missions, which enabled NASA to become the first agency to place a human on the moon. NASA ...

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