NASA: Past, Present, and Future


NASA and Its Divisions

NASA Home Page:  Since its inception in 1958, NASA has accomplished many great scientific and technological feats in air and space.  NASA remains a leading force in scientific research and in stimulating public interest in aerospace exploration, as well as science and technology in general.  Checking up on NASA-related News and Features and Events, learning more about the history of NASA, or viewing the NASA image of the day, are just a few of the things you can do from this page.

Kennedy Space Center (KSC):  The KSC is NASA’s Spaceport Technology Center and premier launching site.  From this page you can access information about previous and upcoming Space Shuttle Launches, peruse the Historical Archive of Space History and Manned Missions, and plan a visit to the KSC.

Discovery Program:  This program gives scientists the opportunity to find innovative ways to unlock the mysteries of the solar system.  Here you can watch a video about the program, find information about particular Discovery Missions and view their related Education pages, or read their quarterly Newsletter.

Glenn Research Center (GRC):  Since 1941, the GRC has been working at developing and transferring critical technologies that address national priorities in aeropropulsion and space applications, focusing on research for new aeropropulsion technologies, aerospace power, microgravity science, electric propulsion, and communications technologies for aeronautics, space, and aerospace applications.  You can also learn about the GRC’s Photovoltaic and Power Technologies Branch, which is dedicated to the advancement of solar technology for the purpose of meeting NASA’s and the country’s energy needs.

Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC):  GSFC is home to the Nation’s largest organization of combined scientists and engineers dedicated to learning and sharing their knowledge of the Earth, solar system, and Universe.  Here you can join the Student Observation Network and learn to track a solar storm from start to finish and find out about University Programs for higher-ed students, or you can browse the GSFC’s Repository Library.  Also, this is where you can find a great deal of information about the Sun-Earth Connection.

NASA Science From the website “NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) and the nation’s science community use space observatories to conduct scientific studies of the Earth from space to visit and return samples from other bodies in the solar system, and to peer out into our Galaxy and beyond.”

Deep Space Network (DSN): DSN is an international network of antennas that supports interplanetary spacecraft missions and radio and radar astronomy observations for the exploration of the solar system and the universe.  It currently consists of three deep-space communications facilities placed approximately 120 degrees apart around the world: at Goldstone, in California’s Mojave Desert; near Madrid, Spain; and near Canberra, Australia.

Terra:  The EOS Flagship:  “Terra,” Latin for land, is the name of the Earth Observing System (EOS) flagship satellite, launched on December 18, 1999. The five sensors aboard Terra are comprehensively measuring our world’s climate system—to observe and measure how Earth’s atmosphere, cryosphere, lands, oceans, and life all interact. Data from this mission are used in many research and commercial applications. Terra is a vital part of NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise.

Earth Observatory:  The purpose of NASA’s Earth Observatory is to provide a freely-accessible publication on the Internet where the public can obtain new satellite imagery and scientific information about our home planet. The focus is on the Earth’s climate and environmental change; you see the saved Ask-A-Scientist questions on these topics, because the service was discontinued or browse the site’s extensive Features section as well.

Earth from Space:  View selected photos of NASA’s Space Shuttle Earth Observations Photography database, which includes over 400,000 images.  The Earth from Space database was compiled by NASA staff to illustrate some interesting Earth features and processes.

Chandra X-Ray Observatory:  With this observatory, NASA has completed the most comprehensive survey of X-ray sources in nearby galaxies.  Come to this page to view some of the stunning pictures in the Image Gallery and to read News Releases to learn about recent discoveries.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory:  The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is NASA’s lead center for robotic exploration of the solar system.  This page also features the Space Calendar, which covers space-related activities and anniversaries for the coming year.

Johnson Space Center (JSC):  JSC serves as the lead NASA center for the International Space Station — a U.S.-led collaborative effort of 16 nations, and the largest, most powerful, complex human facility to ever operate in space. The Center’s famed Mission Control Center, or MCC, has been the operational hub of every American human space mission since Gemini IV and is also home to the NASA astronaut corps which is responsible for training space explorers from the United States and our space station partner nations.

John C. Stennis Space Center:  Stennis Space Center is responsible for NASA’s rocket propulsion testing and for partnering with industry to develop and implement remote sensing technology.  Here you can register your youngster for Astro Camp or learn more about their youth and public education programs.

NASA Scientific and Technical Information (STI):  NASA STI’s mission is to collect, archive, and disseminate NASA aerospace information, and locate domestic and international STI pertinent to NASA’s missions and Strategic Enterprises. Examples of NASA’s STI include research reports, journal articles, conference and meeting papers, technical videos, mission-related operational documents, and preliminary data.

Commercializing Space:  Here you can find out more about NASA’s involvement in the commercialization of space technology.

NASA History Series Publications:  Many publications pertaining to the history of NASA and its projects have been digitized and can be found here.


Educational Resources

Many of the links in the section above feature educational programs or sites for children and youth.  However, the following three websites are dedicated exclusively to educational purposes.

Education Program:  This page serves as a portal to a variety of information available from NASA pertaining to education.  Here you will find resources for educators and students alike.  Also, educators can find out how they can apply to take part in NASA’s Educator Astronaut Program (EAP).

Space Place and Kids’ Club offer facts, games, and activities for kids and resources for parents and teachers.

SciJinks NASA, in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, made a website about weather for kids, parents, and educators.

NASA Aerospace Education Services Program (AESP):  AESP serves America’s education community by enhancing awareness and understanding of the scientific and technological advances growing out of NASA’s missions of research, discovery, and exploration.


Policy and Research Data

NASA’s Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs:  This page contains links to congressional hearings and policy documents concerning NASA.

Key Documents in the History of Space Policy: Here you will find links to documents that have been important in the development of space policy from the 1950s onwards.

NASA TechFinder:  Search the database for information about licensing opportunities for new NASA technologies and submit requests for additional information. NASA TechFinder contains text and images from all 11 NASA centers.

NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS):  The NTRS collects scientific and technical information from NASA’s technical report servers as well as non-NASA sites.

National Space Science Data Center (NSSDC):  The NSSDC archives and provides access to a wide variety of astrophysics, space physics, solar physics, lunar and planetary data from NASA space flight missions, in addition to selected other data and some models and software.

NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS):  ADS is a NASA-funded project which maintains four bibliographic databases containing more than 3.3 million records: Astronomy and Astrophysics, Instrumentation, Physics and Geophysics, and preprints in Astronomy. The main body of data in the ADS consists of bibliographic records, which are searchable through the Abstract Service query forms, and full-text scans of much of the astronomical literature which can be browsed through the Browse interface.

Planetary Data System (PDS):  PDS archives and distributes scientific data from NASA planetary missions, astronomical observations, and laboratory measurements. The site features a Welcome to the Planets page with many stunning photographs of the bodies in our solar system.

GCFC Earth Sciences (GES) Distributed Active Archive Center:  The Goddard DAAC is a repository of Earth science information, especially relating to NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise. The most recent News and Announcements about the DAAC are highlighted, as well as data on various Earth science topics.