Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade October 2001

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The acronym NASA that stands for the National Space and Aeronautics Administration. When NASA is mentioned, most people tend to leave out the aeronautics part of the acronym, but what those people don't realize is that NASA is involved in various projects on Earth. These missions include work on military and commercial airplanes, which have led to the developments of safer, more efficient planes. NASA has played an important role in the United States and people should know about it.

The beginning of NASA was the most important part of the United States' entire space program. On July 28, 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act to create the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which, of course, is NASA, which was to be headed by T. Keith Glennan. The bill called for a government agency where everything, whether it was a success or failure, was to be kept in open view of the public, and the goal of the administration was simply, "To explore the phenomenon of the atmosphere and space for peaceful purposes for the benefit of all mankind" (Vogt 10).

With this, the United States finally had an agency truly committed to space and could finally compete with the Russians. NASA began full operation on October 1, 1958, after the National Advisor Committee on Aeronautics was abolished. Getting a little head start, NASA inherited the committee's facilities, laboratories, and personnel and immediately set to work planning its future. According to A Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Album of NASA, the first flight of administration used a chimpanzee to test the effects of space on living mammals, but the flight only lasted sixteen and a half minutes and landed over 120 miles from its target (12). Though this was a slight setback for the United States, it...