How has NASA helped the United States

The history of NASA and its stories

Voyager probes: today they are outside the planetary system

There are also milestones in unmanned space flight. The Voyager probes, launched in 1977, are used to explore the outer planetary belt. Your computer unit clocks at 1.9 megahertz. For comparison: today's cell phones clock in the gigahertz range. The Voyager's memory offered storage space for 100 images on a magnetic tape. The probes are now outside the planetary system and their plutonium energy source is running out. So this year one measuring instrument after another will be switched off.

In 1990 the Hubble Space Telescope was successfully launched, which to this day sends breathtaking images of stars, galaxies and space nebulae on the numerous wall calendars.

The first commercial flight into space took off this May

In 2014, for the first time in its history, NASA commissioned the private and commercial companies Boeing and SpaceX to build a space shuttle for manned space travel. This should also end the dependence on Russian space travel. On May 30, 2020 the time had come. The Dragon Crew launched the first manned commercial flight into space as part of the SpX-DM2 mission. NASA rented two berths for their astronauts, so to speak. SpaceX is now developing its own rockets with which it wants to offer NASA boarding places for manned flights on Mars - even before 2030.

In addition to the successes, there were also tragic low blows

One of the most tragic events was the 1986 Challenger rocket explosion shortly after its launch. In February 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia burned up on its way back into the earth's atmosphere. Five men and two women were each on board. That sealed the end of the shuttle era. From then on, NASA relied on the Russian Soyuz capsules to bring astronauts into space. Before a man could walk on the moon, more people were killed. Three astronauts were burned to death during a test during an Apollo mission in Cape Canaveral in 1967.

In an interview book on 50 years of NASA by chief historian Steven Dick, it becomes clear that the history of NASA is also a history of men. But the few women did important work: for example, the lunar module could only land in 1969 due to an overloaded computer because the programmer Margret Hamilton thought of the necessary rescue programs and the computer was able to help itself.

NASA: almost entirely a man's business

On the pile of printed pages that contained the code for the moon landing, Margret could comfortably prop herself up with her elbow while standing. Since 2005 there have been deputy female NASA administrators who are allowed to support the 14 male administrators in the history of NASA.

The future: projects that know no boundaries

Where is NASA's journey going? Her aim is to implement innovative projects in which no limits can yet be identified in terms of development and what is feasible. There is something that is bigger than one's own work, and here is the chance to be a part of it - that is the motivation of the NASA employees.

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Short and sweet

• NASA was born: October 1, 1958

• Milestones: Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Space Shuttle, Voyager and Hubble projects

• Low blows: the transport capsule with three astronauts burned out in 1967, the Challenger exploded in 1986, a space shuttle burned up in 2003

• Future: Private companies work with NASA