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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an agency of the Federal government of the USA, responsible for the nation's public list of space programme. It was established on 29 July 1958 by the National Aeronautics and Space Act,[1] as a response to the challenge of the world's first artificial satellite – the Soviet Sputnik, launched on 4 October 1957.[2]

In addition to the space program, NASA is also responsible for long-term civilian and military aerospace research. Since February 2006, NASA's self-described mission statement is to "pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery, and aeronautics research".[3]


  1. ^ The National Aeronautics and Space Act, NASA, 4 November 2009
  2. ^ Into the unknown together – The DOD, NASA, and early spaceflight by Lieut.-Col. Mark Erickson, Air University Press, Maxwell Air Force Base, 2005, ISBN 1-58566-140-6
  3. ^ What does NASA do, NASA, 28 July 2009