By Roger D. Launius
NACA to NASA to Now: The Frontiers of Air and Space in the American Century tells the story of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) and its successor, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The NACA and NASA facilitated the advance of technology for flight in air and space throughout the 20th and into the 21st century. This book explores how and why aerospace technology took the course it did, discusses some of the key people who drove aerospace science and technology development, and examines the political, economic, managerial, international, and cultural contexts in which the events of flight have unfolded.
The U.S. government explicitly challenged the NACA in 1915 to accelerate aeronautical research and to further the capability of the United States to push back the frontiers of flight. After more than 40 years of groundbreaking research into the problems of flight, the NACA was transformed in 1958 into NASA and given the added task of pursuing spaceflight with both humans and robots.
This fascinating work, written by Roger D. Launius, former NASA Chief Historian and Associate Director for Collections and Curatorial Affairs at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum, illuminates the storied, multifaceted history of this agency in a single concise volume. It will serve as an excellent introduction and resource for NASA employees, journalists, scholars, and the general public to understand NASA’s rich heritage.