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NASA was founded in 1958 during the early stages of the Space Age

Thursday, July 29th 2021, 7:51 pm - On this day in weather history, NASA was founded.

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by The Weather Network that features stories about people, communities, and events and how weather impacted them.


On Tuesday, July 29, 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was founded. NASA operates as an independent agency of the United States government. NASA replaced the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), which was founded in 1915. NASA was founded with a civilian focus, to promote peaceful space science.

Buzz salutes the U.S. Flag-crop "Buzz Aldrin on the Moon, 1969." Courtesy of Wikipedia

Since its establishment, NASA has led most space exploration efforts. NASA has led the Apollo Moon landing missions, the Space Shuttle missions, and continuously supports the International Space Station.

The motivation behind the founding of NASA was the launch of Sputnik 1. The USSR launched Sputnik into orbit on Oct. 4, 1975. It became the first artificial Earth satellite to be launched into space. This prompted the Space Age.

The U.S. was worried that Sputnik could be a threat to national security, so President Dwight D. Eisenhower swiftly took action. The White House, the Pentagon, scientists, and other stakeholders agreed that the U.S. should invest in space exploration.

NASA HQ Building "NASA Headquarters at 300 E Street SW in Washington D.C." Courtesy of Wikipedia

"It is of great urgency and importance to our country both from consideration of our prestige as a nation as well as military necessity that this challenge [Sputnik] be met by an energetic program of research and development for the conquest of space," stated NACA Director Hugh Dryden.

NASA was officially established when Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act On July 29, 1958. The agency NACA's 8,000 employees, its US$100 million annual budget, and three major research laboratories.

To learn more about the founding of NASA, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History."

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by The Weather Network that features unique and informative stories from host Chris Mei.

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Thumbnail: "NASA logo at JPL on November 17, 2020." Courtesy of Wikipedia

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