The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, most commonly known by the acronym NASA, was established by the United States President Dwight Eisenhower on October 1st, 1958. By doing so, President Eisenhower at the same time closed down NASA’s predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), an agency generally associated with military research. NASA was created as a civilian-based organization — similar to the CIA — with the main objective of supporting peaceful applications in space science. Nowadays, NASA is still the north-American agency responsible for the nation’s civilian space program both for aeronautics and aerospace investigation.
NASA around the world
NASA facilities exist not only in the United States, but also all over the world. Its headquarters are located in Washington, DC and are responsible for providing political leadership and overall guidance to the agency. Globally, there are ten major NASA field centers: Ames Research Center at Moffet Federal Airfield in Silicon Valley, California; Dryden Flight Research Center located inside Edwards Air Force Base, California; Glenn Research Center located within the cities of Brook Park, Cleveland, and Fairview Park, Ohio; Goddard Space Flight Center it’s located in Greenbelt, Maryland; Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California; Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas; John F. Kennedy Space Center in Pasadena, Florida; Langley Research Center (LaRC) in located in Hampton, Virginia; George C. Marshall Flight Center is located in Redstone Arsenal, Alabama; John C. Stennis Space Center is located in Hancock County, Mississippi.
“Houston, we’ve had a problem,” is the famous quote from the astronaut James S. Lowell, during Apollo 13, the failed mission that was scheduled to be the third lunar landing. In that moment, James Lowell was reporting to mission controllers at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (JSC), located in Houston, Texas. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s center for human spaceflight training, research and flight control. It’s a complex with one hundred buildings constructed on 1,620 acres in Houston, Texas.
NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center was originally named Manned Spacecraft Center, because of the Space Task Group formed soon after the creation of NASA to co-ordinate the US manned spaceflight program. The center was renamed in honor of the late U.S president and Texas native, Lyndon B. Johnson, on February 19, 1973. The Johnson Space Center is home to Christopher C. Kraft Jr. Mission Control Center (MCC-H), the NASA control center that coordinates and monitors all human spaceflight for the United States. JSC is known as Mission Control, its central function during NASA missions.
The Center at Houston is responsible for the most known NASA’s programs in flight-related scientific and medical research. Many of the technologies developed originally in JSC for spaceflight are now used in a variety of areas, such as medicine, energy, agriculture, transportation and other fields of scientific knowledge. In 2007, Johnson Space Center was granted a five-year, $120 million extension of its agreement with the National Space Biomedical Research Institute at Baylor College of Medicine to study health risks to long-duration space flight.