In this article, we are going to be talking about NASA. We tried to cover all the information regarding NASA. You will be getting an idea about what are operations handled by NASA, what is its full form, what does it do and a lot more.
Let us begin with understanding the full form of NASA.
NASA is the acronym used to denote National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
NASA was started in the year 1958 and operates under the United States of America Government. It is a U.S. government agency that works for the civilian space program as well as aeronautics.
NASA also undertakes operations of scientific discovery, earth, and aerospace research. It was started under the National Aeronautics Space Act, 1958 by President Dwight. D. Eisenhower.
As a space administration, NASA deals with the development of peaceful applications in space science researches and it is in charge of The U.S. Science and Technology that deals with space exploration and airplanes.
NASA is headed by an Administrator. Since July 2019, Jim Bridenstine is the 13th Administrator of NASA.
The vision of NASA states that they work to discover and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity.
What does NASA do?
NASA handles a lot of different operations under its administration. They handle the making of satellites; these satellites are used to explore space and earth.
NASA sends probes into space on its behalf. NASA scientists study things in our solar system and universe as well. They have been engaged with the explorations of the moon and life on Mars.
NASA believes in sharing information that they have achieved with the rest of the world. They have this vision of making life better on earth with their explorations and scientific research.
NASA also shares its information with teachers so that they can impart the knowledge among students and if there are young space enthusiasts and astronauts then they can explore their future in space science.
The headquarters of NASA is located in Washington and it has 10 NASA centers across the country. It also has 7 NASA workplaces to study and test the satellites for space and earth.
NASA has thousands of people working for it who are engaged in multiple space explorations and experiments for new findings.
From the beginning, NASA had plans for human space flight. The Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs helped NASA learn about flying in space. These programs led to the first human flight on the moon in 1969.
NASA has astronauts living and working on International Space Station. Space probes have visited every planet on the solar system.
NASA satellites help people understand the weather conditions and any hazards that could be avoided. NASA also helps develop and test new aircraft. There are many records set by NASA.
Space Flight Programs
NASA has conducted both manned and unmanned space programs. Some of its famous space flight programs are:
The X-15 Rocket Plane
In the year 1959, test pilot Scott Crossfield threw the switch of the engine’s ignition and began the test program’s first powered flight. This flight was every research scientist’s dream back then.
X-15 was suggested in the early 50s by Bell Aircrafts as a vehicle for exploring the realm of hypersonic flight which was defined to be 5 times faster than the speed of sound at that time.
Initially, this program was handled by National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics which was a federal agency and was later replaced by NASA in 1958.
Project Mercury was the first human space flight carried by NASA from the year 1958 to 1963. The main goal of the flight was to put a man into the earth’s orbit and bring back him safely.
NASA conducted almost 20 developmental flights without any crew on the flights. Some of them had animals as crew members. And later six flights were conducted with astronauts. The astronauts were collectively known as Mercury Seven and thus the project came to be known from Roman mythology as Mercury.
Project Gemini was NASA’s second human space flight program. The program was started in 1961 and ended in the year 1966. It took the astronauts towards the Lower Earth Orbit (LEO).
The project’s main mission was to develop space travel techniques to support the Apollo mission which we will be talking about next.
Project Apollo was the most expensive NASA scientific program. Its cost was more than $20 billion in 1960.
The first moon landing spacecraft was Apollo 11 mission in July 1969. The first person to land on the moon was Neil Armstrong.
Skylab was the first United States space station. It was occupied for about 24 weeks from 1973 to 1974. It was operated by 3 separate crews Skylab 2, 3, and 4.
The major operations included an orbital workshop, a solar observatory, earth observation, and hundreds of experiments.
The space shuttle was unable to re-boost Skylab which was not ready by 1981 and thus Skylab’s orbit decayed and it got disintegrated in the atmosphere and its debris was scattered in the Indian Ocean.
These were some of the major manned programs of NASA. NASA has been constantly working on exploring further possibilities in the universe and at the far end of our milky way.
There are more than 1000 unmanned missions initiated and successfully completed by NASA. There have been a mission for the earth as well as other planets in the solar system. Some of the important unmanned missions of NASA are mentioned below:
Explorer 1 was United States’ first satellite in space. The launch of the satellite in 1958 was just the beginning as the space race with the Soviet Union was just begun.
The satellite was a breakthrough as NASA got its first success after many unsuccessful tries. It signaled that country was ready to explore the universe.
Viking 1 and Viking 2 were the two aircraft sent by NASA to explore MARS. On July 26, 1976, it became the second aircraft to soft-land on Mars and the first to perform the mission successfully.
Viking 1 held the record for being the longest Mars Surface Mission of 2307 days until that record was broken by Opportunity rover in the year 2010.
Pioneer 10 is an American space probe launched in 1972 that completed its first space mission to Jupiter. It also became the first artificial object to achieve the escape velocity to leave the solar system.
NASA Grant Program Highlights
NASA introduced the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program, which is also known as a Space Grant, in 1989.
It is basically a network of colleges and universities which work collectively to create and expand opportunities for Americans to understand and participate in space projects of NASA.
NASA Research Opportunities
NASA has an ultimate mission to support research in the field of science and technology. It solicits the research by releasing research announcements in various science and technology disciplines.
Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs
These are all the programs that come under NASA to support and fund the research, development, and demonstration of innovative technologies that can fulfill the needs of NASA and can have huge potential for commercialization.
International Space Station Funding Opportunities
NASA funding is available through NASA Research Announcements (NRAs). There are various typing funding available to scientists to be used for International Space Station (ISS) research and development, payload development, and more.
National Laboratory funding for space station use is obtained through research opportunities with other government agencies as well as with entities in the private and non-profit sectors.
At the end
NASA has been evolving since the times it was created and it has become the world’s number 1 space agency. NASA has been constantly working on exploring traces of life on different planets for years.
There are many unsolved mysteries of the Universe that were opened by NASA and yet there are many secrets which this space administration has kept to itself only.
NASA has actually awakened humans for a vision of beyond the earth and has been achieving success in space explorations for decades now.
In the end, we hope that our readers were on a flight of imagination with us while reading this article. And we are sure that your mind must have been struck by the unthinkable possibilities that humans can make.
We hope we were able to solve your queries regarding the topic and that you gained some extra information on NASA through this write-up.
At last, we would end it here that the Sky is not the limit!