The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. NASA was established in 1958.
NASA‘s Vision is “We reach for new heights and reveal the unknown for the benefit of humankind”.
True to it’s vision, NASA has accomplished some truly amazing feats since its inception in 1958 — from beating the Soviet Union in the race to put astronauts on the moon, to exploring the surface of Mars with unmanned robotic vehicles. Between 1962 and 1073, NASA’s Apollo program was designed to land humans on the Moon and bring them safely back to Earth. Six of the missions (Apollos 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17) achieved this goal.
NASA has invented all sorts of technology to solve the peculiar problems of space exploration. In the 1950s and early 1960s, it created the revolutionary three-axis stabilization control design that enables satellites to point their antennas, instruments and solar panels with precision. Since then, it’s been such a prolific problem solver that about one in every 1,000 U.S. patents is granted to someone working on a NASA project.
NASA’s ongoing investigations include in-depth surveys of Mars and Saturn and studies of the Earth and the Sun. On the horizon of NASA’s plans is the MAVEN spacecraft as part of the Mars Scout Program to study the atmosphere of Mars.
In 2017, President Donald Trump directed NASA to send Humans to Mars by the year 2033. Foci in general for NASA were noted as human space exploration, space science, and technology. The Europa Clipper and Mars 2020 continue to be supported for their planned schedules.
Victor Luo is Operations Manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a unique national research facility that carries out robotic space and Earth science missions.