The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), created when President Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act (Public Law 85-568 or 72 Stat 426-2), began on this date in 1958. Check out some of the resources that NASA has put together to celebrate their 60 years. And if you really want to get into the nitty gritty details about NASA, read this new book “The Penguin Book of Outer Space Exploration” edited by space historian John Logsdon.
NASA formally opened its doors on October 1, 1958, and it turns 60 years old today. The nation’s space agency has marked the diamond anniversary in various way and anticipates a bright future.
However, given heated talk of a Space Force, military “domination” of space, and the rise of commercial companies, it is reasonable to pause at this moment to ponder NASA’s durability. A review of the space agency’s early history validates concerns about NASA’s relative fragility. In the late 1950s, the US Air Force resisted the removal of human spaceflight activities to a new civil space agency, and it has quietly been pushing back ever since. Even 60 years later, this war may not yet be lost by the military.
This tension, and more, is revealed in a new book titled The Penguin Book of Outer Space Exploration, edited by space historian John Logsdon. The book presents some of the seminal documents from the creation and evolution of NASA over the last six decades. It reflects what Logsdon describes as “30 years of immersion in primary documents and reflects my judgment on a mixture of what’s most important plus some that are human interest and fun.”
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