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NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration)
  NASA The National Aeronautics and SpaceAdministration (NASA) is the agency oftheUnited States governmentthat isresponsible for the nation's civilianspaceprogramandfor aeronauticsandaerospaceresearch. PresidentDwight D.Eisenhower established the NationalAeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)in 1958 [5]  with a distinctly civilian (rather thanmilitary) orientation encouraging peacefulapplications in space science. TheNationalAeronautics and Space Actwas passed onJuly 29, 1958, disestablishing NASA'spredecessor, theNational AdvisoryCommittee for Aeronautics(NACA). The newagency became operational on October 1,1958.Since that time, most U.S. spaceexploration efforts have been led by NASA,including theApollomoon-landingmissions, theSkylabspace station, and later theSpace Shuttle.Currently, NASA is supportingtheInternational Space Stationand isoverseeing the development of theOrionMulti-Purpose Crew VehicleandCommercialCrewvehicles. The agency is also responsiblefor theLaunch Services Program(LSP) whichprovides oversight of launch operations andcountdown management for unmannedNASA launches. Most recently, NASAannounced a newSpace Launch Systemthatit said would take the agency's astronautsfarther into space than ever before and laythe cornerstone for future human spaceexploration efforts by the U.S.  NASA science is focused on better understanding Earth through theEarthObserving System,advancingheliophysicsthrough the efforts of the Science Mission Directorate's Heliophysics Research Program, exploring bodiesthroughout theSolar Systemwith advanced robotic missions such asNew Horizons,and researchingastrophysicstopics, such as theBig Bang,through theGreat Observatoriesand associated programs.NASA shares data withvarious national and international organizations such as from theGreenhouseGases Observing Satellite.  I.   Creation From 1946, theNational Advisory Committee for Aeronautics(NACA) hadbeen experimenting with rocket planes such as the supersonicBell X-1.In theearly 1950s, there was challenge to launch an artificial satellite for theInternational Geophysical Year (1957  –  58). An effort for this was theAmericanProject Vanguard.After theSovietlaunch of the world's first artificialsatellite(Sputnik 1)on October 4, 1957, the attention of the United States turned toward its own fledgling space efforts. TheU.S. Congress, alarmed by the perceived threat to national security and technologicalleadership (known as the Sputnik crisis ), urged immediate and swift action;PresidentDwight D. Eisenhower and his advisers counseled more deliberatemeasures. This led to an agreement that a new federal agency mainly basedon NACA was needed to conduct all non-military activity in space.TheAdvanced Research Projects Agency(ARPA) was created in February1958 to develop space technology for military application.On July 29, 1958, Eisenhower signed theNational Aeronautics and SpaceAct,establishing NASA. When it began operations on October 1, 1958, NASAabsorbed the 46-year-old NACA intact; its 8,000 employees, an annualbudget of US$100 million, three major research laboratories(LangleyAeronautical Laboratory,Ames Aeronautical Laboratory,andLewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory)and two small test facilities. [17]  ANASA sealwas approved by President Eisenhower in 1959. [18]  Elements of theArmy BallisticMissile Agencyand theUnited States Naval Research Laboratorywere incorporated into NASA. A significant contributor to NASA's entry intotheSpace Racewith the Soviet Union was the technology from theGerman rocket program(led byWernher von Braun,who was now working for ABMA) which in turn incorporated the technology of American scientistRobertGoddard's earlier works. [19]  Earlier research efforts within theU.S. Air Forceand many of ARPA's early space programs were also transferred to NASA. InDecember 1958, NASA gained control of theJet Propulsion Laboratory,acontractor facility operated by theCalifornia Institute of Technology.  II.   Space Flight Programs  The most notable NASA activities are its space flight programs, bothmanned and unmanned. The latter can be either independent, carryingscientific equipment, or supportive, testing equipment for manned flights. In the beginning, NASA’s missions focused on the space race with the SovietUnion,which won the first round, but later the United States took the initiativeand won the final race to the Moon. The unmanned missions have until nowexplored most of our solar system. They have also broughttelescopes for deep space explorationinto orbit around the Earth together with satellitesfor studying Earth itself.  III.   Scientific Research A.   Medicine in spaceA variety of large-scale medical studies are being conducted in space bytheNational Space Biomedical Research Institute(NSBRI). Prominentamong these is theAdvanced Diagnostic Ultrasound inMicrogravityStudy, in which astronauts (including former ISSCommandersLeroy ChiaoandGennady Padalka)perform ultrasound scans under the guidance of remote experts to diagnose and potentiallytreat hundreds of medical conditions in space. Usually there is nophysician on board theInternational Space Station,anddiagnosis of medical conditionsis challenging. Astronauts are susceptible to a varietyof health risks includingdecompression sickness,barotrauma,immunodeficiencies, loss of bone and muscle, orthostatic intolerance dueto volume loss,sleep disturbances,and radiation injury.Ultrasoundoffers a unique opportunity to monitor these conditions in space. This study'stechniques are now being applied to cover professional and Olympicsports injuries as well as ultrasound performed by non-expert operators inpopulations such as medical and high school students. It is anticipatedthat remote guided ultrasound will have application on Earth inemergency and rural care situations, where access to a trained physicianis often rare.B.   Ozone depletionIn 1975, NASA was directed by legislation to research and monitor theupper atmosphere. This led to Upper Atmosphere Research Program andlater theEarth Observing System(EOS) satellites in the 1990s tomonitor ozone depletion.The first comprehensive worldwidemeasurements were obtained in 1978 with the Nimbus 7 satellite andNASA scientists at theGoddard Institute for Space Studies. Salt evaporation and energy managementIn one of the nation's largest restoration projects, NASA technology helpsstate and federal government reclaim 15,100 acres (61 km 2 ) of salt  evaporation ponds in South San Francisco Bay. Satellite sensors are usedby scientists to study the effect of salt evaporation on local ecology.NASA has started Energy Efficiency and Water Conservation Program asan agency-wide program directed to prevent pollution and reduceenergy and water utilization. It helps to ensure that NASA meets its federalstewardship responsibilities for the environment.C.   Earth ScienceUnderstanding of natural and human-induced changes on the globalenvironment is the main objective of NASA'sEarth Science.NASA currentlyhas more than a dozen Earth science spacecraft/instruments in orbitstudying all aspects of the Earth system (oceans, land,atmosphere,biosphere,cryosphere), with several more planned for  launch in the next few years.NASA is working in cooperation withNational Renewable EnergyLaboratory(NREL). The goal is to produce worldwide solar resource mapswith great local detail. NASA was also one of the main participants in theevaluation innovative technologies for the clean up of the sourcesfor dense non-aqueous phase liquids(DNAPLs). On April 6, 1999, theagency signed TheMemorandum of Agreement(MOA) along withtheUnited States Environmental Protection Agency,DOE,  andUSAFauthorizing all the above organizations to conduct necessarytests at the John F. Kennedy Space center. The main purpose was toevaluate two innovative in-situ remediation technologies, thermalremoval and oxidation destruction of DNAPLs. National Space Agencymade a partnership with Military Services andDefense ContractManagement Agency named the ―Joint Group on Pollution Prevention‖. The group is working on reduction or elimination of hazardous materials or processes.On May 8, 2003,Environmental Protection Agencyrecognized NASA asthe first federal agency to directly uselandfill gasto produce energy atone of its facilities  —  theGoddard Space Flight Center,Greenbelt,Maryland. IV.   Leadership The administrator is the highest-ranking NASA official and serves as thesenior space science adviser to the President of the United States. Theadministration is located atNASA Headquartersin Washington, DC andprovides overall guidance and direction to the agency.The first Administrator was Dr.T. Keith Glennan;during his term he broughttogether the disparate projects in space development research in the US.
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