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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.

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.

Women’s History Month: Celebrating Women Astronauts 2024
22 min read

“A bird cannot fly with one wing only. Human space flight cannot develop any further without the active participation of women.” – Valentina Tereshkova “If we want scientists and engineers in the future, we should be cultivating the girls as…

Article
NASA Center Boosted YF-12 Supersonic Engine Research
4 min read

Supersonic flight became a reality in October 1947, when the Bell X-1 rocket plane broke the sound barrier. NASA’s Lewis Research Center in Cleveland (now, NASA Glenn), which had served as the agency’s aeropropulsion leader since it was established in…

Article
55 Years Ago: Five Months Until the Moon Landing
11 min read

Following the success of the Apollo 8 circumlunar mission, NASA believed that it could achieve a Moon landing by the summer of 1969 and meet President John F. Kennedy’s goal. Much work remained to accomplish that objective. Three crews and…

Article
30 Years Ago: Clementine Changes Our View of the Moon
7 min read

In 1994, a joint NASA and Department of Defense (DOD) mission called Clementine dramatically changed our view of the Moon. As the first U.S. mission to the Moon in more than two decades, Clementine’s primary objectives involved technology demonstrations to…

Article
NASA Goddard’s Beginnings in Project Vanguard
3 min read

In the dawn of the Space Age, a group of scientists and engineers from the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) had their eye on a new frontier: the uncharted expanse of space. Project Vanguard, initiated in 1955, aimed to launch the…

Article

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.

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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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