Established in 1958 in response to Russia’s Sputnik 1, launched on 4 October as the world’s first artificial satellite, NASA - the National Aeronautics and Space Administration - emerged out of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics which had been formed in 1915. The NASA Operations Manual tells the story of America’s civilian space agency, the facilities it operates, where they are and what they do. It explains how much NASA costs the American taxpayer and looks at what it returns to the taxpayer in benefits to the economy.
NASA has forged a niche in modern history that extends beyond the realisation of age-old dreams to leave Earth and explore the heavens - it has become a synonym for achievement, performance and greatness, in setting goals and achieving them, in failing and learning how to recover, in connecting people around the world with international programmes to explore our solar system and live our ambitions, and in improving the lives of people everywhere through its inventions, discoveries, its technology and its engineering. Sixty years after NASA took hold of the reins of US civilian space programmes, the agency has a bold vision for great and ambitious goals, taking humans back to the Moon and on to Mars, perhaps visiting an asteroid, or setting up an interplanetary transport system on the way. And all the time, providing inspiration for a new generation.
With more than 300 photographs, line drawings and charts, this book tours the United States, describing the centres of excellence and the facilities where rockets are tested, satellites are built and humans prepare for space. With summary review of research laboratories, test rigs, experimental platforms and engineering facilities, this book describes the 60 years of NASA as it has evolved through changing requirements and expanding capabilities, building on the past and preparing for a bold future.