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What is NASA? Full form of NASA


NASA means National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

People from the earliest times, have looked up at the sky and imagined what was there. Everyone’s dream of travelling into space and exploring what was beyond the earth. 

How would human beings ever be able to travel up in universe and out of Earth’s atmosphere? 

How could we ever explore our Galaxy, the moon, the planets, our solar system, and what lies beyond even that? 

These were some questions that scientists, philosophers and astronomers asked for hundreds of years.

By the end of the 19th century, some engineers and mathematicians had come up with ideas about how space travel might be possible mainly in Russia and Germany. 

Mainly the engineers and mathematicians proposed that Rockets could break the pull of earth’s gravity and take humans to outer space.


Since the opening of the space nearly 50 years ago the US government has been close to Dollar 1 trillion on space related activities.

Although by no means the largest public expenditure over that period – it is easily dwarfed by National Defence ,social security and countless other Federal programs.

Most space advocates will immediately point to the main benefits of research and development that flow from space- based. 

They would not the advances and improvement in weather forecasting communication and navigation and argue that the economic impact of these systems alone– which have accounted for the creation of not only thousands of jobs, but of dozens of whole new  industries as well – probably exceeds Dollar 1 trillion.

They might also claim that the satellite and rocket technologies have made a contribution to American National Security beyond all the economic calculation.

Although many critics often scoff at the supposedly inflated claims made for the “spin-offs” of the space program. There is a large number of commercial products, services, and technologies in common use today that were originally developed for space missions. 

It is also impossible to determine with any degree of precision that the total dollar value of these indirect benefits but they are certainly not insignificant.

The fact that space represents such an enormously valuable resource only underscores the importance of that Dollar 1 trillion investment. 

It is the operation and programs of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) that become the focus of such questions.

Although far from the only federal agency engaged in space related activities. NASA has stood as the country’s most visible and most important Public Space Organisation for more than 40 years. 

During the early 1960s, many opponents of project Mercury questioned the rush to place a man in space. 

The main problem lies not so much in the value of any specific project as in the agency’s overall strategy for exploring and using the space. 

By far the largest of these debates involves NASA commitment to sending people, arguing  that anything that humans can do in space can almost always be done more easily, at follower cost, and with much less personal risk by unmanned rockets and automated probes. 

The fact is that the argument has been raging unabated for nearly 50 years, dogging every major project from Mercury to the International Space Station, suggesting that it will not be resolved anytime soon.

A number of observations, economic and political conservatives, complain that NASA is too involved with providing “space services”, a task that is not only inconsistent with its “true” mission as a research and development (R&D) organization. It is also impeding the development of private sector space activities.

This particular debate has evolved over the past two decades into a more general discussion about the role of governments in space exploration overall.


In 1959 NASA history was the first established program that is to be one of more than 250 public history functions within the Federal government. 

It is a dedicated long term effort to provide a comprehensive understanding of the institutional cultural, economic, technological, social, political, and scientific aspects of NASA’s activities. 

The program of NASA resulted from an executive order, first issued by president Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Federal Agencies objectively record the history of their activities in order to assess policy and departmental effectiveness.

NASA maintains this historical program mainly  for these principal reasons:

1. Publication of historical research on US Civilian Aerospace activities sponsored by NASA, specially it is one of the ways in NASA’s response to that provision of the national Aeronautics and Space act of 1958, as amended. 

2. NASA’s mandate to study the societal impact of space exploration by historical research also responds to, namely the “establishment of long-range studies of the potential benefits to be gained from the opportunities for. 

3. The history of NASA division has built a significant collection organised by subject for use by both the public and NASA personnel of reference materials . 

The resources are used for answering specific requests for information by NASA officials and for researching and writing agency history first. 

The office also encourages the development of similar collections at NASA Centres throughout the nation. 

The visitor’s log at the end NASA headquarters history division is evidence of the hundreds of persons inside and outside the agency who have used these materials in their daily work. 

4. As numerous authors have graciously acknowledged, the NASA history program has provided the indispensable starting point for research and development. 

The NASA history division also has been  long active in providing context and details of historical developments within NASA for use by internal management. 

5. The history of NASA has also been emphasized in the research and writing of a wide range of the history by scholarly works of the American Aerospace Program as its Hallmark  . 

A large number of the agency of University and independent Scholars have contributed to the publication of an impressive series of official books, monographs and journal articles. 

6. The program also has fostered historical research through an annual research fellowship competition (AHA) and more recently through its sponsorship of the history of science society fellowship.

In the history of Space Science and the National fellowship in the history of space Technology, each of these activities is described in subsequent sections of this Publication.

7. During its first decade the NASA history office conducted these three aspects of its mission–reference materials collection, staff support and historical Research and writing as a balanced program. 

Administrator James E, Webb (1961 – 68) was an active user and supporter of the division and the other senior level NASA managers often asked the office to provide other information and context for their then-current concerns. 

8. In addition, wide public interest in the early human spaceflight program led NASA to emphasize the publication of narrative mysteries of the Mercury Gemini and Apollo projects all of which were published in the 1960s and the 1970s. 

The Challenger and Columbia tragedies have brought about major changes in the way NASA sends humans into space, and scientists, and scholars even the general public look to this percent past in order to gain a better understanding of NASA’s direction.

9. With the expectation of a limited number of space science, NASA management, and unpiloted space project histories, NASA’s historical publications have focused overwhelmingly on the human spaceflight program. 

The professional credibility of these publications has been consistently high because the chief historian has taken great care to ensure that manuscripts for publication receive thorough “peer” and technical review to guarantee accuracy and objectivity. 

10. More recently, the NASA History Division, in conjunction with the Science Mission Directorate, has begun supporting a large number of histories of space and Earth science in order to redress the imbalance of previous decades.

Similarly, it is addressing large thematic maps in NASA history, including the societal impact of spaceflight, NASA’s international relations, and its life sciences and aeronautics. 

11. To answer research questions from NASA personnel, journalists, research scholars, students, and other interested parties from around the world and to provide a foundation for historical research in aeronautics and space history.

The NASA History Division maintains an on-site archive. The history division also sponsors and organizes academic workshops, conferences, and special events.

12. The NASA history division has a wide variety of resources available to researches electronically via the internet. 

Mostly, books and monographs in the formal NASA history series are now available on the history revision website. 

A list of all NASA history publications is available online also on NASA’s official website. It also includes many links to the online version, as well as instructions and links for how to purchase hard copies of the various books and monographs also.


NASA’s mission fascinates countless Americans and space buffs around worldwide. 

One indication of the widespread interest in the organisation is the sheer number of books published about it. 

In addition NASA is an important type of public organisation fitting the model of a highly Complex organisation with the hardest mission. 

It is the kind of organisation that Charles Perrow (1999) characterized as subject to normal accidents. That is its core processes are tightly coupled, their interactions are not wholly predictable and failure is enormously costly in life resources and the National stature. 

The successes and failures at NASA can help us to understand the wide range of organisational processes that are critical to the safe management of increasingly Complex and dangerous organisational technologies in public health energy production and national securities.

NASA’s extensive internal and external panel findings and reviews at many critical stages between the two accidents are also easily accessible. 

It is this period that is of greatest interest from 1986 to 2003 for it was in this time span that learning if it occurred would appear. 

It is also the time during which a learning or forgetting might have taken place. Such contemporary insider accounts from interviews and testimony are precisely the kinds of information needed to investigate learning in large public organisations.

The core process of organisational learning has been the most difficult to identify. In consequence most scholarly efforts to investigate organisational learning focus instead on determining the availability of information that could lead to learning. 

Really do we have the documentation for a case that allows us to track the learning process itself over time. NASA is such a case like that.

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