News Releases

June Malone
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.

RELEASE : 10-015
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center Celebrates Its Heritage with 50 Years of Engineering, Science and Technology
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – 1960 was a year of beginnings for NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. This year, the Marshall Center is celebrating its 50th anniversary, highlighting its historical engineering and technology achievements and service to the nation and America's space program.

On March 15, 1960, President Dwight Eisenhower issued an executive order designating NASA's first field center as the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center. The order transferred 4,670 civil service employees to NASA from the Army Ballistic Missile Agency's Development Operations Division and 1,840 acres of Redstone Arsenal property and facilities valued at $100 million.

"The order pronounced the Marshall Center as 'destined to play a major role in man's conquest of outer space and its utilization for peaceful purposes for the benefit of all mankind,'" recounted Marshall Center's historian Mike Wright.

The center was named in honor of Gen. Marshall, the Army chief of staff during World War II, who also served as U.S. secretary of state, and was a Nobel Prize winner for his world-renowned Marshall Plan – a U.S. program to rebuild a stronger economic foundation for the countries of Western Europe following the war.

Shortly before activating its new field center in 1960, NASA described the Marshall Center as "the only self-contained organization in the nation which was capable of conducting the development of a space vehicle from the conception of the idea, through production of hardware, testing and launching operations."

For 50 years the Marshall Center has provided proven scientific and engineering experience to enable our nation to be a leader in space exploration by developing the Saturn V rockets that launched Americans to the moon; Skylab, the world's first space station; the space shuttle propulsion system; advanced propulsion systems and the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Marshall also has made significant contributions to NASA programs including the Hubble Space Telescope, International Space Station science research, robotic exploration and scientific research of our planet and others.

Marshall continues to serve as one of NASA's largest and most diverse centers, playing a vital role in the nation's space program and inspiring future engineers, scientists and technologists to explore, innovate and discover.

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