An acronym for National Aeronautics and Space Administration
, which is a major agency of the United States Federal Government
. It is widely known for its attempts at extraplanetary
flight, but also focuses to improve upon intraplanetary
flight as well. The technological discoveries and scientific achievements of NASA for over a quarter of a century have revolutionized daily life and continues to perpetually redesign our future. Everything from tang
to freeze-dried ice cream
is indebted in one way or another to the American space program. NASA was the organization under which such space programs as Mercury
, and the Space Shuttle
missions were initiated and executed. Because of NASA, astronaut
s Neil Armstrong
and Buzz Aldrin
became the first men to walk on the moon during the Apollo 11
Today, NASA still continues to reach for the stars despite constant financial and political opposition from influential individuals and organizations who feel it a waste of time and resources. NASA has for decades been flying Space Shuttles into orbit around the Earth conducting experiments and maintaining a vast network of satelites. As an example of the costs involved, the price tag to make Space Shuttle Endeavour which replaced the ill-fated Space Shuttle Challenger, was about $1.7 billion. That was just to get it to fly the first time, and does not include upkeep or cost of manpower to keep her in the air.
As of the winter of 2000, there were plans to construct an international Space Station orbiting the planet, plans to colonize the moon, and plans to operate a manned mission to the planet Mars. All of these and many more initiatives are at various stages of accomplishment, and NASA continues to forge ahead despite obstacles and setbacks, although it is hindered and at times nearly crippled by two factors: 1) It must constantly accomplish great things with comparatively little funding and 2) It must never fail. Consequently it often looks worse than it is, due to incredibly near impossible standards and limitations set upon it. Quite frankly, it's amazing they get anything done, constantly having to placate to the lowest bidder in any given project.