(Washington, D.C.: NASA SP-2010-4704), pp. xvi+759, hardcover.
On 29 July 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act, creating the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which became operational on 1 October of that year. Over the next 50 years, NASA achieved a set of spectacular feats, ranging from advancing the well-established field of aeronautics to pioneering the new fields of Earth and space science and human spaceflight. In the midst of the geopolitical context of the Cold War, 12 Americans walked on the Moon, arriving in peace "for all mankind." With the Apollo fire and two Space Shuttle accidents, NASA has also seen the depths of tragedy.
In this volume, a wide array of scholars examines NASA's first 50 years, probing an institution widely seen as the premier agency for exploration in the world, carrying on a long tradition of exploration by the United States and the human species in general. Fifty years after its founding, NASA finds itself at a crossroads that historical perspectives can only help to illuminate.
Steven J. Dick was the Chief Historian for NASA and Director of the NASA History Division. He worked as an astronomer and historian of science at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, DC, for 24 years before coming to NASA Headquarters in 2003. He is the author of numerous books, including The Biological Universe (1996) and Life on Other Worlds (1998), and Remembering the Space Age (NASA SP-2008- 4703, 2008).
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