National Aeronautics and Space Administration


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Acronyms, Wikipedia.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

(NASA), civilian agency of the U.S. federal government with the mission of conducting research and developing operational programs in the areas of space explorationspace exploration,
the investigation of physical conditions in space and on stars, planets, and other celestial bodies through the use of artificial satellites (spacecraft that orbit the earth), space probes (spacecraft that pass through the solar system and that may or may not
..... Click the link for more information.
, artificial satellites (see satellite, artificialsatellite, artificial,
object constructed by humans and placed in orbit around the earth or other celestial body (see also space probe). The satellite is lifted from the earth's surface by a rocket and, once placed in orbit, maintains its motion without further rocket propulsion.
..... Click the link for more information.
), rocketry, and space telescopes (see Hubble Space TelescopeHubble Space Telescope
(HST), the first large optical orbiting observatory. Built from 1978 to 1990 at a cost of $1.5 billion, the HST (named for astronomer E. P. Hubble) was expected to provide the clearest view yet obtained of the universe from a position some 350 mi (560 km)
..... Click the link for more information.
) and observatories. It is also responsible for international cooperation in space matters. NASA came into existence on Oct. 1, 1958, superseding the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA), an agency that had been oriented primarily toward laboratory research. While the NACA budget never went higher than $5 million and its staff never exceeded 500, the NASA annual budget reached $14.2 billion in 1995, and its staff reached a maximum size of 34,000 in 1966 (21,000 in 1995), with some 400,000 contract employees working directly on agency programs.

The creation of NASA was spurred by American unpreparedness at the time the Soviet Union launched (Oct. 4, 1957) the first artificial satellite (Sputnik 1). NASA took over the Langley (including the Wallops Island, Va., launch facility), Ames, and Lewis (now Glenn) research centers from NACA. Soon after its creation, NASA acquired from the U.S. army the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (operated by the California Institute of Technology). Later, the Army Ballistic Missile Arsenal (now the Marshall Space Flight Center) at Huntsville, Ala., was placed under NASA control.

The best-known NASA field installations are the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center near Houston, Tex., where flights are coordinated, and the John F. Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Fla., where space shuttle and other space program launches have taken place. Other facilities include the Armstrong, Goddard, and Stennis centers and NASA headquarters, in Washington, D.C. Operationally, NASA is headed by a civilian appointed by the president and has four main divisions, the mission directorates for aeronautics research, human exploration and operations, science, and space technology, as well as a directorate for mission support. Despite some highly publicized failures, NASA has in many cases successfully completed its missions within their projected budgets; the total cost of the Apollo project, for example, wound up very close to the original $20-billion estimate. Currently, NASA oversees all space science projects and launches approximately half of all military space missions.

Bibliography

See T. Crouch, The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (1989); H. Benedict, NASA: The Journey Continues (2d ed., 1992); R. D. Launius et al., NASA and the Exploration of Space (1998); W. E. Burrows and W. Cronkite, The Infinite Journey (2000); H. E. McCurdy, Inside NASA: High Technology and Organizational Change in the U.S. Space Program (2000); R. E. Bilstein, Testing Aircraft, Exploring Space (2003); F. Sietzen, Jr., et al., New Moon Rising: The Making of America's New Space Vision and the Remaking of NASA (2004).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

 

(NASA), a government organization in the USA; established Oct. 1, 1958. The organizational nucleus of NASA was the previously existing National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. NASA’s primary objectives are the conduct of scientific research on earth and in outer space; the development and technological advancement of airplanes and spacecraft; the study of the potential benefits of developing aeronautics and space exploration and the use of their achievements for peaceful purposes; coordination of the efforts of governmental, industrial, and scientific organizations in aeronautics and space exploration, with the goal of effective use of the resources of the USA and avoidance of duplication of work; and the collaboration of the USA with other countries on issues of aeronautics and the conquering of outer space (for example, the Soyuz-Apollo project with the USSR).

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Box 7463, Colorado Springs, CO, 80933/(719)591-3600; National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Johnson Space Center, 2101 NASA Road 1, Houston, TX 77058/(713)483-0123.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) relies extensively on information systems and networks to pioneer space exploration, scientific discovery, and aeronautics research.
Established in 1994, the Joint Group on Pollution Prevention (JG-PP) has been actively fostering cooperation between the DoD Services, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in an effort to leverage valuable resources and identify new channels for implementing promising innovative technologies in response to weapons/space systems environmental compliance issues.
In 1991, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) embarked upon the extensive and comprehensive Earth Science Enterprise, a program to help us better understand what is happening on the Earth's surface.
They want to be a part of Canada's contribution to future missions to the moon and Mars commissioned by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Assigned: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
That claim, Nemitz says, gives him the right to charge the National Aeronautics and Space Administration the highly reasonable fee of $20 for one century's parking and storage fees: NASA's Near Shoemaker spacecraft has been parked on Eros since February 2001."Are we sure," Orbital Development asks on its Web site, "that there is not sufficient law in the United States for its people to proclaim original property in space and gain official respect for a person's right to own it?"
charged a third former mid-level Boeing manager with participating in an alleged scheme to use proprietary documents stolen from Lockheed to compete for National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) contracts, a move that comes even as investigators increasingly pursue higher level executives of the company's rocket unit.
Instead, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has put its money and research into other programs, including the space shuttle.
Support consists of launch and early orbit operations for the Inertial Upper Stage/Defense Support Program; data flow operations for National Aeronautics and Space Administration satellite programs, the Space Transportation System, boosters and other Air Force Satellite Control Network eternal users; operations support to include satellite support planning, scheduling and reporting, attitude and orbital analysis, and data processing; level software and level 1 database maintenance for AFSCN common user and mission unique equipment; simulation and scenario generation for mainframe systems (i.e.
Almost before he knew it, a new outfit called the National Aeronautics and Space Administration had hired him over the telephone, and he found himself in Langley, Virginia, trying to figure out what his new job was all about.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's solar-powered, propeller-driven Helios aircraft set a new world record altitude of 96,500 feet on 13 August.
Full browser ?