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The acronym "NASA" stands for National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The term "aeronautics" originated in France, and was derived from the Greek words for "air" and "to sail."
The Altus II unmanned robot plane can circle for up to 24 hours over wildfires, beaming images and data back to computers via satellite. Originally introduced as part of the Environmental Research and Sensor Technology (ERAST) Program, Altus II can map dozens of fires in a day with no risk to a pilot. On August 25, 1932 Amelia Earhart set three records for women flyers: the first non-stop U.S. crossing, the longest distance record, and a coast-to-coast record time.
In 1803, a man named Luke Howard used Latin words to categorize clouds. Cirrus, which means "curl of hair," is used to describe high, wispy clouds that look like locks of hair. Cumulonimbus clouds, or rain producing clouds, may stretch from their base near the Earth's surface to an altitude of 10 kilometers (33,000 feet) or higher.
The Dryden Flight Research Center (DFRC) is NASA's center for aeronautical flight research and atmospheric flight operations. DFRC is chartered to research, develop, verify, and transfer advanced aeronautics, space and related technologies. It also serves as a backup landing site for the Space Shuttle and a facility to test and validate design concepts and systems used in development and operation of the Orbiters. NASA's Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology program (known as "ERAST") develops pilotless airplane technology. It also works on making science instruments very small so that they can be carried on remote-controlled aircraft.
On January 31, 1958, Explorer 1 became the first artificial satellite launched into space by the United States. Onboard was a cosmic ray detector designed to measure the radiation environment in Earth orbit. On March 16, 1926, Dr. Robert H. Goddard successfully launched the first liquid fueled rocket. The launch took place at Auburn, Massachusetts, and is regarded by flight historians to be as significant as the Wright Brothers flight at Kitty Hawk.
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