Happy conception, NASA! 50 years


Happy 50th birthday, NASA!

President Eisenhower signing the National Aeronautics and Space Act - U.S. Naval Photographic Center

President Eisenhower signing the National Aeronautics and Space Act – U.S. Naval Photographic Center

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration was created by legislation signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on July 29, 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Act. The agency was formally inaugurated on October 1, 1958 — NASA dates its birth from that day.

But, what the heck! There’s enough cool history for two celebrations every year!

Teachers might take this opportunity to stock up on photos and information for bell-ringer quizzes and other presentations on October 1, 2008, when NASA celebrates the 50th anniversary of NASA’s opening its doors, and school is actually in session.

Photos from NASA on the 47th birthday, in 2005

Photos from NASA on the 47th birthday, in 2005 Image Details:
First row, from left:
A 1931 photo shows the original hangar at NASA’s predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The first American satellite in orbit, Explorer 1, launches in January 1958. The “Original Seven” Mercury astronauts were selected in 1959. The experimental Echo project used large metallic balloons to bounce signals from one point on Earth to another.Second row, from left:
The X-15 hypersonic research aircraft flew for nearly 10 years, from June 1959 to October 1968. Apollo 11 astronauts left the first bootprints on the moon in July 1969. Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, seen from one of the twin Voyager spacecraft that launched in 1977. NASA satellites helped create the “blue marble,” a detailed image of Earth.

Third row, from left:
Columbia launches on the first shuttle mission in April 1981. Image of the Eagle Nebula from the Hubble Space Telescope. The Mars rover Opportunity looks back at its tracks on the red planet. The international space station is humanity’s first permanent orbital outpost.

Fourth row, from left:
The Cassini spacecraft has been sending back images of Saturn, it’s rings and moons since July 2004. Discovery returns the space shuttle fleet to flight in July 2005. NASA satellites help scientists and forecasters watch powerful hurricanes. Artist’s concept of NASA’s next spaceship, the crew exploration vehicle, docked with a lander in lunar orbit.

Photo credit: NASA

Congress created a civilian agency to honcho space exploration as part of the body of reform actions after the Soviet Union beat the U.S. with orbiting an artificial satellite, in 1957.

Google has another of its arty Google Logos in honor of the day:

NASA has its own logo for the 50th anniversary:

NASA’s 50th anniversary logo

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3 Responses to Happy conception, NASA! 50 years

  1. Ediacaran says:

    Here’s a link to a 2005 story celebrating the 90th anniversary of NASA’s predecessor organization, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), as mentioned in regards to one of the photos Ed posted:

    http://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/news/X-Press/stories/2005/032505_NACA_90th.html

    Also, I couldn’t miss this opportunity to plug some history that often gets overlooked by the public: the astronauts who went into space in the X-15 rocket plane. The military pilots were given their astronaut wings at the time, but the 3 NASA X-15 pilots who made it into space weren’t honored with astronaut wings until many years later: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/news/NewsReleases/2005/05-57.html

    I had the honor of working with astronaut, test pilot, and engineer Bill Dana, so I want to make sure his contributions to aerospace history and those of other heroes of aerospace are remembered. Bill also has the distinction of being NASA’s first employee. http://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/history/Speeches/index.html

    Like

  2. Chris says:

    Hooray!

    Like

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