NASA Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Dina Albert
Studying and exploring the universe is the challenging, but interesting, job of people who work for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In this lesson, you'll learn more about the history of NASA and the explorations it conducts.

History of NASA

Following World War II, the Soviet Union and the United States of America began the race to space - both nations wanted to be the first to explore space. In 1957, the Soviet Union sent the first satellite, called Sputnik, into space. When this happened the United States felt it had fallen behind in the science and technology required to travel to space. So the government put a lot of money into establishing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which opened just a year later in 1958.


Explorations of NASA

One of the most well-known space projects is Apollo, which is when NASA send men to the moon on several missions between 1968 and 1972. But you may not have heard of the equally important projects Mercury and Gemini. Before people could be sent to the moon, NASA needed to figure out if they could survive in space at al - that was the main focus of project Mercury. Once they figured out people could survive out there, the next step was to experiment with people doing hands-on work in space on space crafts and vehicles: project Gemini. Meanwhile, NASA was also building and managing their well-known space shuttle.

Space Shuttle

NASA also has sent space crafts to explore the moon, Venus, Mars, and planets that are even farther away. You may have heard of some of these space crafts already, including the Ranger, Pioneer, Mariner, and the Voyagers. They also send satellites into space that do things you use in your daily life, like gathering information about weather and helping cell phones and televisions work.

In addition, NASA is known for working on the International Space Station and the Hubble Telescope, which was put into Earth's orbit in 1990.

Who Works at NASA

Centers that operate under NASA are located in California, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Virginia, Maryland, New York and Ohio. The NASA headquarters is located in Washington DC. Among all the centers and the headquarters, there are lot of different jobs that people do for NASA.

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