In the timeline of the creation of NASA, July 29 holds a huge significance because it was on this day back in 1958 when the United States Congress passed the legislation and 34th US President Dwight D Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act into law. This further paved the way for NASA to sponsor an array of space expeditions both human and mechanical.
The team at NASA has been credited for reviving key details of the universe and vital information about the solar system. From touching new milestone every year, the organisation has also successfully launched several earth-orbiting satellites that are now used to predict weather forecasts and global communications.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA was basically created in response to the Soviet Union launching its first satellite Sputnik I into space on October 4, 1957. This basketball-sized satellite had orbited the earth in 98 minutes but caught the Americans by immense surprise back in the day along with fears of their rival’s capability of sending missiles with nuclear weapons from Europe to the US.
Meanwhile, the Soviets launched Sputnik II on November 3, 1957, and these circumstances prompted the Americans to pass the legislation that further paved the way for NASA to be fully functional on October 1, 1958, also known as NASA’s birthday.
This was when T Keith Glennan, the President of Case Institute of Technology since 1947 and also a former member of the Atomic Energy Commission, was sworn in at the White House as NASA’s first Administrator in 1958. In the 102 section of the Space Act, the government laid down objectives of the organisation from the expansion of human knowledge of phenomena in the atmosphere and space to the most effective utilisation of the scientific engineering resources of the country. Since 1958, the Space Act has been changed a number of times.
NASA’s top management from 1958-1960 was T. Keith Glennan, Administrator (centre), Hugh L. Dryden, Deputy Administrator (left), and Richard E. Horner, Associate Administrator (right). This photo, dated March 1, 1960. Credit: NASA
Explorer 1: NASA’s first successfully launched satellite by the US on January 31, 1958, Credit: NASA
NASA’s first human spaceflight program: Project Mercury, Credit: NASA
NASA’s selected seven astronauts for Project Mercury in 1959, Credit: NASA
NASA’s Mars 2020 Rover Perseverance launch
From 1958, the organisation has come a long way and Mars 2020 rover ‘Perseverance’ has a ‘go for launch’ and is now set for lift-off on July 30 at 7:50 AM ET from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41 topped on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 541 rocket to seek the ancient microbial life on the red planet. Celebrating its ‘Countdown to Mars’, NASA is posting daily updates on its official social media accounts. The present NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine has assured that “the launch readiness review is complete, and we are indeed going for launch”.