About National Aeronautics and Space Administration
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) boldly goes where few have gone before (about 560 astronauts and cosmonauts have been into space). The federal agency's Aeronautics division conducts research on air transportation and use of piloted, remote-controlled and fully autonomous aircraft while its Exploration Systems works on human and robotic exploration and prototype systems. Its Science unit studies climate, gravitation, and the atmosphere. The Space and Clinical Operations (SCO) division is to optimize the health, fitness and well-being of flight crews and current program supported include the International Space Station (ISS) and the Human Research Program (HRP). NASA was founded in 1958.
NASA has headed up more than 230 missions exploring everything from particles of comet dust to the composition of solar wind to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt at the edge of the solar system. Some missions investigate Earth's own atmosphere, oceans, and ice caps. A few missions are carried out with international partners, including space agencies from Japan (JAXA), Russia (Roscosmos), Europe (ESA) and Canada (CSA). In addition, the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is the only facility where assembly of a rocket occurred that carried humans beyond low-Earth orbit and on to the Moon. In addition, it has partnerships with Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Johnson Space Center including White Sands Test Facility and Kennedy Space Center, just to name a few,
NASA is organized into four Mission Directorates supported by one Mission Support Directorate. The Aeronautics Research in which it conducts research which enhances aircraft performance, environmental compatibility, capacity, flexibility, and safety of the future air transportation system. Human Exploration and Operations division develops new capabilities, supporting technologies and foundational research for affordable, sustainable human and robotic exploration. While Science explores the Earth, Moon, Mars, and beyond; charts the best route of discovery, and obtains the benefits of Earth and space exploration for society. The Space Technology develops new technologies needed to support current and future NASA missions, other agencies, and the aerospace industry.
NASA is based in Washington and has around ten centers and other facilities across the country. Including California, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.
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NASA had a budget of $22.6 billion in fiscal 2020. Its requested budget for fiscal 2021 amounted to $25.2 billion, which it will use for its Moon-to-Mars campaign, Human Exploration and Operations, Exploration Technology, and Science, among others.
For the past decade, the agency's mission has changed from returning to the moon to heading for Mars and other parts of the solar system. NASA has implemented a Moon-to-Mars strategy which includes gaining experience on the Moon to guide future human Mars exploration, and an integrated multi-directorate Moon-to-Mars effort. NASA has also allocated approximately $12 billion for the Moon-to-Mars campaign for its different initiatives, such as the development of Lunar Human Landing System, Space Launch System rocket, and Gateway.
NASA has also made considerable progress in its current mission. In late 2020, NASA awarded Intuitive Machines of Houston approximately $47 million to deliver a drill combined with a mass spectrometer to the Moon by December 2022 under the agency's Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative. The delivery of the Polar Resources Ice Mining Experiment known as PRIME-1 will help NASA search for ice at the Moon's South Pole and, for the first time, harvest ice from below the surface.
In addition, NASA has selected fourteen American companies as partners to develop a range of technologies that will help forge a path to sustainable Artemis operations on the Moon by the end of the decade. Together, NASA and the industry are building up an array of mission-ready capabilities to support a sustainable presence on the Moon and future human missions to Mars.
In mid-2020, NASA successfully launched its Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission to Mars to search for signs of ancient life and collect samples to send back to Earth. The Perseverance rover's astrobiology mission is to seek out signs of past microscopic life on Mars, explore the diverse geology of its landing site, Jezero Crater, and demonstrate key technologies that will help NASA prepare for future robotic and human exploration.
NASA was founded in 1958, partly in response to Russia's launch of the Sputnik satellite, to research space and flight technology. It successfully landed two Americans on the moon for the first time in 1969.
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