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NASA stands for National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NASA was started in 1958 as a part of the United States government. NASA is in charge of U.S. science and technology that has to do with airplanes or space. NASA does a lot of different things. NASA makes satellites. The satellites help scientists learn more about Earth.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958 with a distinctly civilian (rather than military) orientation encouraging peaceful applications in space science. The National Aeronautics and Space Actwas passed on July 29, 1958, disestablishing NASA's predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The new agency became operational on October 1, 1958. NASA sends probes out into space. NASA scientists study things in the solar system, and even farther away. A new program will send humans to explore asteroids, Mars and beyond. People at NASA work on ways to make air travel better for everyone on Earth, too. People at NASA also share the things they learn with others. This can help make life on Earth better.
NASA Headquarters is in Washington, D.C. There are ten NASA centers all over the United States. There are also seven test and research facilities. More than 18,000 people work for NASA! Being an astronaut is probably the best-known job at NASA, but astronauts make up just a small part of the workforce. A lot of engineers and scientists work at NASA. People are doing other jobs, too, such as secretaries, writers, lawyers and even teachers.
From its start, NASA began to plan for human spaceflight. The Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs helped NASA learn about flying in space. This led to the first human landing on the moon in 1969. NASA has astronauts living and working on the International Space Station. Space probes have visited every planet in the solar system. Scientists have looked far into space using telescopes. NASA satellites help people better understand weather patterns on Earth. NASA also helps develop and test new aircraft. Some of the airplanes have set new records. NASA works to make air travel faster and safer.
Since that time, most U.S. space exploration efforts have been led by NASA, including the Apollo moon-landing missions, the HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skylab" \o "Skylab" Skylab space station, and later the Space Shuttle . Currently, NASA is supporting the International Space Station and is overseeing the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle , the Space Launch System and Commercial Crew vehicles. The agency is also responsible for the Launch Services Program (LSP) which provides oversight of launch operations and countdown management for unmanned NASA launches.
NASA science is focused on better understanding Earth through the Earth Observing System ,  advancing HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heliophysics" \o "Heliophysics" helio -physics through the efforts of the Science Mission Directorate's Helio -physics Research Program,  exploring bodies throughout the Solar System with advanced robotic missions such as New Horizons ,  and researching astrophysics topics, such as the Big Bang , through the Great Observatories and associated programs.  NASA shares data with various national and international organizations such as from the Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite .
NASA has conducted many manned and unmanned spaceflight programs throughout its history. Unmanned programs launched the first American artificial satellites into Earth orbit for scientific and communications purposes, and sent scientific probes to explore the planets of the solar system, starting with Venus and Mars , and including " grand tours " of the outer planets. Manned programs sent the first Americans into low Earth orbit (LEO), won the Space Race with the Soviet Union by landing twelve men on the Moon from 1969 to 1972 in the Apollo program , developed a semi-reusable LEO Space Shuttle , and developed LEO space station capability by itself and with the cooperation of several other nations including post-Soviet Russia .
The experimental rocket-powered aircraft programs started
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