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The National Aeronautics Space Administration, or NASA as it is more commonly known, is responsible for many space travelling accomplishments. In 1979 NASA’s Skylab crashed onto Australian soil, instead of acknowledging this, the Australian Government fined NASA $400 for littering.
Nasa originated in 1958. NASA was founded after the Soviets launched their satellite ‘Sputnik 1’ which sparked the space race. Prior to NASA being founded, an organization called ‘NACA’ existed, this stood for National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. NACA essentially was to promote and undertake research outer space. Whilst NASA was originally to take part in the space race, their goal statement says ‘NASA’s enduring purpose is scientific discovery and exploration for the benefit of the United States and humanity. NASA’s first program was Project Mercury which succeeded in sending humans into space.
On the 16th of July 1969, NASA succeeded in finally landing a man on the moon. Neil Armstrong was the first to step out and Edwin ‘Buzz’ AAldrin followed suit. Not many people know that Michel Collins was also when on the mission, but stayed in the ship whilst Buzz and Neil landed on the moon. The pair stayed on the moon for 21 hours, with over 600 million people tuning in to the iconic landing. About 400,000 engineers, technicians and scientists helped pull off this amazing feat in space travel history. The president of the United States, President Nixon, arranged a phone call with Neil and Buzz once they landed on the moon, but actually had an alternate speech planned in case the mission failed.
Spacewalks are not possible without space suits. If you do not wear a space suit all of the air will be sucked out of your body and if you hold your breath you’re lungs will blow up. Each suit weighs 21kgs without its life support backpack, if you were to buy one it would set you short $12,000,000 USD. NASA also has orange space suits, these are actually called launch and entry suits. They are called this because after being launched into space astronauts can only wear them inside the spacecraft. Launch and entry suits are bright orange because after splashdown (landing in the sea) the orange is very visible for the rescue crews. Space suits are mainly used for protection against anything space may throw at you.
NASA is home to many rockets and control centres. The definition of a rocket is a cylinder shapers projectile that covers great height or distance. One of NASA’s most recent rockets is an endeavour, it had three tanks attached which would help it launch it into orbit. Two white tanks attached to an orange external tank will detach themselves from it when they run out of fuel followed by the orange tank. In the California Science Centre, you can see the endeavour ship and an external tank these will soon be placed together in launch position. NASA has many control centres two of these are in Washington DC and Houston, Texas. That is where the famous line from Apollo 13 comes from, “Houston, we have a problem.’
Although some people believe NASA is a waste of money they actually only get half a penny from every tax dollar. NASA has employed some very smart people, for example, Lonnie Johnson was employed at NASA and is actually the man who invented the ‘Super Soaker’. NASA also aims to get humans to Mars in the 2030s.
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