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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.

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.

65 Years Ago: NASA Begins Operations

6 min read

On Oct. 1, 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) officially began operations. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law the National Aeronautics and Space Act the previous July, creating NASA to lead America’s civilian space program in response…


35 Years Ago: STS-26 Returns the Space Shuttle to Flight

16 min read

On Sept. 29, 1988, space shuttle Discovery roared off its launch pad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida. The STS-26 mission returned American astronauts to space after a 32-month hiatus following the January 1986 Challenger accident that took…


50 Years Ago: Skylab 3 Astronauts Splash Down after Record 59 Days in Space

9 min read

On Sept. 25, 1973, the longest human spaceflight up to that time ended with the splashdown of the Skylab 3 crew of Alan L. Bean, Owen K. Garriott, and Jack R. Lousma. Their 59-day flight more than doubled the previous…


Forget Movie Magic, NASA Armstrong has the Real Thing

3 min read

Early in the blockbuster movie “Top Gun: Maverick,” U.S. Navy Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell takes the secret hypersonic “Darkstar” airplane on an unauthorized flight test. After using jet engines to power past Mach 3, roughly 2,300 mph, Maverick says he…


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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