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Apollo 11 Mission Image - View of Moon Limb, with Earth on the Horizon

For All Mankind

Since its founding in 1958, NASA has pushed the boundaries of scientific and technical limits to explore the unknown for all the citizens of our planet. Discover the history of our human spaceflight, science, technology, and aeronautics programs.

65 Years and Counting

Forged in response to early Soviet space achievements, NASA was built on the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), as the locus of U.S. civil aerospace research and development. Since October 1, 1958, when NASA opened for business, it has accelerated work on human and robotic spaceflight, and is responsible for scientific and technological achievements that have had widespread impacts on our nation and the world.

Discover Our History about 65 Years and Counting
Aerial view of NASA hangar roof.
On the desolate pock-marked lunar surface, astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., wearing a white Extravehicular Mobility Unit spacesuit, stands to the right of the American flag planted in the soil. The flag is unfurled and waving to the left, with Aldrin facing it in the image and seen from a side view.

Find out more about the first mission to land people on the Moon in July 1969.

Katherine G. Johnson

Meet the women who worked as human computers in NASA's early days.

Painter applies fresh coat of paint to the NASA Meatball on the Hangar's North Facade

Get to know the meatball, the worm, the seal, and other logos and insignia used by NASA.

NASA will never forget the tragic loss of the Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia crews.

CHIMPANZEE "HAM" sits IN FLIGHT COUCH FOR MR-2 (MERCURY-REDSTONE2) surrounded by his trainers.

Learn about the early history of animals in space flight.

Recent NASA History Stories

Stay up-to-date with our latest NASA history articles as we revisit the discoveries and challenges of NASA's past.

45 Years Ago: Space Shuttle Enterprise Arrives at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center
13 min read

Enterprise, the first space shuttle orbiter that NASA built, arrived at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida on April 10, 1979. Although not space worthy, as a pathfinder Enterprise carried out tasks critical to ensuring the success of the…

NASA’s SERT II: ‘A Genuine Space Success Story’
5 min read

“A genuine space success story,” is how Experiments Manager William Kerslake described NASA’s second Space Electric Rocket Test (SERT II), the first long-duration operation of ion thrusters in space. SERT II provided researchers with data for years beyond its expected…

60 Years Ago: Gemini 1 Flies a Successful Uncrewed Test Flight
5 min read

On April 8, 1964, Gemini 1 successfully completed the first uncrewed test flight of the Gemini spacecraft and its Titan II booster. The three-orbit mission proved the structural integrity of the spacecraft and the launch vehicle, paving the way for…

From NASA’s First Astronaut Class to Artemis II: The Importance of Military Jet Pilot Experience
6 min read

The Mercury 7 On April 9, 1959, reporters and news media crammed into the ballroom of the Dolley Madison House in Washington—the location of NASA Headquarters at that time—to learn the names of the first American astronauts who came to…


The NASA History Office

The National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 not only created NASA but directed it “to provide for the widest practicable and appropriate dissemination of information concerning NASA activities and the results thereof.” The sharing of information, including our history, has always been, and continues to be, a priority. Historians in NASA’s History Office do historical research, provide context, answer questions for NASA leadership, and share NASA’s History with the public.

Learn More About Our Work
The NACA's Aircraft Fleet arrayed on the ramp in the 1950s
These people and this equipment supported the flight of the NACA D-558-2 Skyrocket at the High-Speed Flight Station at South Base, Edwards AFB. Note the two Sabre chase planes, the P2B-1S launch aircraft, and the profusion of ground support equipment, including communications, tracking, maintenance, and rescue vehicles. Research pilot A. Scott Crossfield stands in front of the Skyrocket. Photo date: January 17, 1954

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First View of Mercury from Orbit
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