A quick Google search for facts about NASA will give you a whole host of information about the leaders in space exploration. But why do you need to go anywhere else for your dose of NASA facts? We’ve got a truckload of them right here!

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is a government-run agency of the United States – no, this is not fact number one; we’ll get to that in a bit. NASA plays a crucial role in the fields of technology and science, in relation to space explorations and aeronautics. The Space Age started in 1957 with the launch of Sputnik, a spacecraft launched by the Soviet Union, but it was NASA that first managed to put humans on the moon. This feat is one of the reasons why NASA has become a household name in the aeronautics and space exploration industry.

Here are some facts about NASA that you should know if you are interested in space and technology.

Facts About NASA

  1. NASA was established in 1958 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. At the time, it was part of the federal government branch of the United States as an independent civilian agency.
  2. The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) was established before NASA by President Woodrow Wilson. The main purpose of the agency was to direct and supervise scientific research as well as issues with flight.
  3. Sputnik 1 was the first artificial satellite launched by the Soviets – a year before NASA was established.
  4. NASA received its goal of sending humans to the moon in the 1960s by President John F. Kennedy.
  5. In July of 1969, the first person to walk on the moon was Neil Armstrong. He was part of the Apollo 11 mission. During the entirety of the Apollo space missions, 12 men walked on the surface of the moon.
  6. After an oxygen tank exploded, Apollo 13 did not make the lunar landing in 1970.
Facts About NASA – The Moon Landing
  • Landsat was launched in 1972. It is a series of satellites launched with the purpose of capturing every surface of the Earth in image form from space.
  • NASA designed a research aircraft called the Blackbird or SR-71 to test high-speed flight as part of their high-altitude research. It was designed secretly in the 1950s at Skunk Works, formally known as Lockheed’s Advanced Development Company.
  • NASA’s headquarters is in Washington, DC. However, different states are home to NASA’s nine centers, seven research and testing facilities, and Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
  • NASA has over 17,000 people working in its facilities and more on government contracts. While astronauts are the most recognized and well-known employees of NASA, most of the employees are scientists, engineers, lawyers, writers, teachers, etc.
  • Some NASA astronauts are working and living on the International Space Station.
  • There are over 1000 robotic probes that are collecting data on celestial bodies across the solar system. This data helps us make more sense of the universe and how it functions.
  • NASA telescopes also help scientists look far into space. The Hubble Telescope has managed to locate 10,000 galaxies in just one small dot of the universe.
  • The satellites launched by NASA have helped provide valuable data about the Earth that we use every single day. It has made it easier to understand many things around the planet as well as weather patterns. A lot of lives are saved due to the predictions of storms and even earthquakes.
  • NASA showed the Armageddon movie to its staff and questioned them about any inaccuracies in the film. One hundred and sixty-eight inaccuracies were identified.
  • The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, along with NASA, founded the Learning Channel in 1972.
  • NASA has discovered a “Water world” around 40 light-years away from Earth. It could contain some exotic elements such as superfluid water and hot ice.
  • The Office of Planetary Protection will be set up immediately if life on other planets is discovered.
  • A NASA scientist created a squirt gun, which we now know as the Super Soaker.
  • NASA has designed a space ship that has the capacity to deflect oncoming asteroids via a nuclear explosion.
  • In 2011, NASA launched a probe to Mars with a mission to determine whether Mars can support microbial life. It landed in 2012.
A Rover On Mars
  • The Artemis program is another project by NASA whose main purpose is to properly explore the moon. NASA has committed to landing American astronauts back on the moon, including the first woman.
  • NASA works with teachers to prepare students who can work as astronauts, engineers, scientists, and other NASA employees in the future. NASA has traditionally invested in many activities and programs to inspire educators and students alike. It even hosts training sessions for teachers so that they can continue to teach newer and improved methods of science, engineering, and mathematics.
  • NASA has an annual budget of $20 billion annually but may need more to accomplish its goals of making it to Mars.
  • Two satellites called Tom and Jerry have been launched by NASA to orbit the Earth.
  • NASA pays people to stay in bed for long periods at a time so that they can research the effects of weightlessness on the human body.
  • Neil Armstrong was actually a week late in submitting his NASA application for the mission. Dick Day, his friend, slipped the application among the others so that no one would know it was late. As a result, Neil Armstrong was the first man to step foot on the moon.
  • A famous television show host, Bill Nye the Science Guy, has sent in multiple applications to become an astronaut but was rejected each time.
  • Apollo astronauts were unable to qualify for life insurance since there were no rules or regulations for space deaths. In the end, they signed autographs as insurance in the hopes that they would be worth a lot of money in the event that they die.  
  • John Aaron saved Apollo 12 when it was struck by lightning. He is also responsible for saving the crew members of Apollo 13 by developing a safer and improved way to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere through power-up sequences.
NASA Astronaut In Space
  • Russian astronauts share the space on the International Space Station with American astronauts. They both keep their water supplies separate.
  • In 2006, NASA launched a space probe that was destined for Pluto. It reached the planet nine years later and conducted a six-month study of the celestial body and its moons.
  • NASA does not recognize a person as an astronaut unless they have traveled at least 50 miles away from the Earth’s surface.
  • NASA was sued for trespassing by three Yemen men who claimed they had inherited Mars from their ancestors thousands of years ago. The case was (obviously) thrown out.

NASA is one of the most famous space programs in the world. It has new goals to land again on the moon by 2024 and land on Mars before 2050. These steps could lead us to new discoveries and a better understanding of the universe we live in. NASA helps humanity understand Earth’s placement in space as well as the different celestial bodies. We hope that these facts about NASA opened your eyes to the work they are putting in every single day to help us understand the universe we live in.