National Aeronautics and Space Administration by an act of the US Congress on July 29, 1958. But it officially went into business on October 1, 1958.
Looking back after 50 years, one can distinguish several eras of human spaceflight at NASA. The first era can be broadly termed the Apollo moon race era.
Following the Soviet Union's launch of Yuri Gagarin in April 1961, and driven by Kennedy's challenge, the United States launched its own astronauts in capsules with the mythical names of Mercury, Gemini and Apollo.
The suborbital flights of Alan Shepard and Gus Grissom in 1961, the first orbital flight of John Glenn in 1962, and the subsequent one-man flights of project Mercury proved that humans could survive in space. Click to read more...
Image: Alan Shepard was the first American in space. He launched aboard his Mercury-Redstone 3 rocket named Freedom 7--the suborbital flight lasted 15 minutes.
Text & Photographs: NASA
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