50th Anniversary

NASA 50th logo

Over the next year, NASA will celebrate 50 years of scientific and technological excellence.

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NASA History Office

Bootprint on the moon

Since its inception in 1958, NASA has accomplished many great scientific and technological feats in air and space.

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Marshall History Office

Lunar Roving Vehicle

Read more about the history of the Marshall Space Flight Center, including key accomplishments and origins.

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Latest News

    Open House Postponed, Employee Event Planned for Marshall's 50th Anniversary on September 8

    A planned Open House for the Marshall Center has been postponed until next year. The Open House had been intended to be part of the observation of the Center’s 50th anniversary. The center will conduct a 50th anniversary event for employees and retirees on September 8, the date Marshall was dedicated in 1960. Also on September 8, a ceremony is being planned with local community leaders to unveil a historic marker recognizing the dedication of Marshall since its inception. Additional details concerning these events will be distributed as plans are finalized.

The Marshall Center Celebrates 50th Anniversary

    Marshall 50th Anniversary logo View large image Fifty years ago on Jan. 14, 1960, President Dwight Eisenhower set the process in motion to create the NASA George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

    The center became operational on July 1, 1960 and was dedicated on Sept. 8, 1960. However, the steps toward the Center’s creation began on Jan. 14. On that day, the president officially informed Congress that he planned to transfer the Development Operations Division of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency in Huntsville to NASA.

    In his message to Congress, Eisenhower said he had recently reviewed "the needs and requirements" of NASA and the Department of Defense including the space agency’s "responsibility for the nation's program of space exploration" and the Department of Defense's responsibility for the "development and operation of space vehicles for defense purposes."

    Eisenhower believed that both agencies needed launch vehicles. However, the question involved which agency would have responsibility for "boosters for space vehicles greatly exceeding the thrust of any boosters now available." Eisenhower favored NASA since he saw "no clear Department of Defense requirement for such very large boosters." As part of his message to Congress, the President added, "For this reason, I assigned sole responsibility for the development of space vehicle boosters of very high thrust to NASA last November."

    On Jan.14, however, Eisenhower addressed what he called the "pertinent arrangements" for NASA to carry out its mission. "This can be done by transferring to NASA the Development Operations Division of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency and certain supporting personnel." Unless Congress objected, the transfer plan would become effective in 60 days.

    On the local level, the Huntsville Times predicted the transfer plan would "provide jobs for Dr. Wernher von Braun and more than 4,800 other Army employees" who would join NASA. In addition, the newspaper stated, "NASA would receive title to more than 86 million dollars' worth of buildings, land, and equipment at Redstone Arsenal plus 14 million dollars' worth to be shared with Army at Cape Canaveral, Fla."

    In the months that followed, Eisenhower's Jan.14 transfer plan, Congress held hearings. By mid-March, Congress had agreed to the plan and although the new NASA field installation was not officially named, Eisenhower and Congress recognized it as the "NASA facility" in Huntsville.

    In July, those Army employees who had decided to join NASA were officially sworn in as NASA employees. In September, President Eisenhower traveled to Huntsville where he officially dedicated the new NASA Center as the "George C. Marshall Space Flight Center," in honor of his fellow World War II military leader, General George C. Marshall.

    Dr. Wernher von Braun would serve as director of the new field Center provided the launch vehicle needed to launch the first human into space and the first humans to the lunar surface as well as launch vehicles and scientific expertise to NASA far into the future.

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History in the Making

  • Marshall Center turns 50 in 2010.

    Marshall Turns 50!

    Read this special edition of the Marshall Star and learn how Marshall is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

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  • First Marshall Star

    First Issue of the Marshall Star, Sept. 4, 1960

    From 50 years ago...read the very first issue of the Marshall Star ever published.

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  • Marshall Timeline graphic

    Marshall History Timeline

    George C. Marshall Space Flight Center celebrates its 50th anniversary with this interactive video/photo timeline.

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The Early Days at Marshall

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Contact Information

    Marshall History Contacts
    Mike Wright
    Marshall Space Flight Ctr.
    256-544-6840