NASA officially opens for business | This Day in Space (1 Oct. 1958)

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration wasn’t built in a day. Ever since the launch of Sputnik hearings and meetings began about the formation of a new agency. The creation of NASA may have been signed into law on July 29, 1958; but on October 1, NASA officially opened for business.

Russia’s launch of Sputnik, the first artificial satellite, on October 4, 1957 immediately turned US attention towards space; causing an immediate reaction from President Eisenhower.

At the start of the next year, NACA(National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) created a Special Committee on Space Technology; recognizing the importance of space for both military and scientific research. This agency covered civilian and scientific efforts while the Advanced Research Projects Agency would develop space technology for military purposes.

Eisenhower sign the creation of NASA into law on July 29. On October 1, 1958 NASA absorbed NACA and took over all operations as well as the budget and employees. With this change, NASA also took over Ames Aeronautical Laboratory (Ames Research Center), Langley Aeronautical Laboratory (Langley Research Center), and Lewis Flight Propulsion Center (now Glenn Research Center).

In the over six decades that NASA has been around, we have made giant leaps in space exploration. We put a man on the Moon (soon the first woman and person of color), visited the outermost reaches of our solar system, and have continuously had a human presence in low Earth orbit for over 20 years. In addition, humanity has benefited from the investment in NASA with improvements in aircraft safety, advanced weather predictions, and the creation of a large list of spinoff technologies we use every day.

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