The purpose of this paper is to respond to the following prompt: What do you believe was the most important aviation event from 1930-1965? For this I have chosen the creation of NASA. “NASA stands for National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NASA was started in 1958 as a part of the United States government. NASA is in charge of U.S. science and technology that has to do with airplanes or space” (NASA, 2009).
Close to 60 years ago, NASA, the incredible agency which has shown humanity deep secrets in the cosmos, constructed the International Space Station, invented the space shuttle, made America the first country to successfully send astronauts to the moon, and push aeronautic frontiers, was in its birth stage, and important choices were being carried out. These have deeply shaped everything that has followed (Dick, 2008).
The real push for the formation of NASA, came in October, 1957, with the launch of Sputknik, followed by even more ambitious Soviet projects. During the middle of the Cold War, as the US aspired to preeminence on the world stage, this space challenge had to be won, and NASA was set up and developed at a rapid pace. In order to set up a US Space Agency, in February, 1958, a Space and Aeronautics Senate Special Committee was established. And then in the following month, an Astronautics and Space Exploration Select Committee was arranged. On 5 March, President Eisenhower gave his approval to a memo which had been signed that same day by the President’s Advisory Committee chairman, Nelson Rockefeller. This memorandum put forward the idea of “a civilian space agency built around… NACA [the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics] , which… spent about half its… effort on space-related projects… and…. missile programs” (Dick, 2008).
In the weeks that followed, legislation was set out. Rather than calling for a more robust NACA, it requested a brand new agency due to the fact that the latter was viewed in some quarters as being somewhat too languid to be able to cope with the onslaught of events. President Eisenhower forwarded the legislation for the attention of Congress on 2 April, 1958, and on 29 July of the same year, he signed into US law, the Act for National Aeronautics and Space, thereby giving birth to NASA. The latter officially opened its doors on 1 October, 1958 (Dick, 2008). At the time that it first started operating, NASA used the research facilities and the staff of the aeronautics’ civilian National Advisory Committee for its mainstay. On top of this, there was the integration of the Huntsville Alabama Ballistic Missile Agency being run by the army, along with other facilities for space research (Parks, 2008).
In 1958, the first male and female NASA space pioneers were quickly organized by NACA to be in group for space tasks. Although there were not very many of them, they generated the first concept mission procedures and plans for the American space program. They then went about producing facilities and hardware in order to to have success with these missions (von Ehrenfried, 2016).
In the final Space Act, Section 012 states why NASA was born. The reasons are as follows:
To expand human beings’ knowledge of space phenomena.
To ameliorate the efficiency, safety, speed, performance and usefulness, of space and aeronautical vehicles.
The operation and development of vehicles that can transport living organisms, supplies, equipment and instruments through space.
To set up long-range research on the difficulties, opportunities and advantages of utilizing space and aeronautical activities for scientific and peaceful reasons.
To ensure that the US remains the world leader in space and aeronautical technology and science.
Informing the agencies which are involved with national defense about discoveries which have military significance or value.
American cooperation with other countries about work carried out pursuant to this Act.
To provide efficient usage of America’s engineering and scientific resources, and to offer tight cooperation with interested US agencies (Dick, 2008).
- Dick, Steven, J. (2008). “The Birth of NASA.” Retrieved from https://www.nasa.gov/exploration/whyweexplore/Why_We_29.html
- NASA (2009). “What Is NASA?” Retrieved from https://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/k-4/stories/nasa-knows/what-is-nasa-k4.html
- Parks, Clinton (2008). “50 Years Ago: NASA Born in Sputnik’s Wake.” Space. Retrieved from https://www.space.com/5671-50-years-nasa-born-sputnik-wake.html
- Von Ehrenfried, Dutch (2016). The Birth of NASA. US: Springer.