The Origins of NASA By Phil Monkress

Representative of America’s drive towards exploration and technology, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was created in response to Russia’s successful launch of the satellite Sputnik 1 on October 4, 1957. This Russian accomplishment brought the Space Race to a new level and spurred the American government to pay more attention to the space program at home. While organizations such as the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics previously had focused on rocketry and interstellar flight, their efforts lacked consistency, a decent infrastructure, and a proper budget.

When creating NASA, the government had to define the organization’s mission. Initially, the government needed to decide what NASA’s parameters would be, whether it would be a civilian or military body, and whether NASA would function as a division within a current entity. Congress spent nearly a year resolving these issues. On October 1, 1958, President Dwight Eisenhower enacted the National Aeronautics and Space Act; this event constitutes the birth of NASA.

About the Author

For over a decade, Phil Monkress has performed as Chief Executive Officer at All Points Logistics, Inc., a Florida-based firm that functions as a federal contractor. In 2011, the company won the NASA Small Business of the Year Award.


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