SIXTY YEARS AGO, spurred by competition with the Soviet Union, the United States created NASA., launching a journey that would take Americans to the MOON within a decade.

Since then, the US space agency has seen glorious achievements and crushing failures in its drive to push the frontiers of space exploration, including a fatal launch pad fire in 1967 that killed three and  two deadly shuttle explosions in 1986 and 2003 that took 14 lives.

Now, NASA is struggling to redefine itself in an increasingly crowded field of international space agencies and commercial interests, with its sights set on returning to deep space.

These bold goals make for soaring rhetoric, but experts worry the cash just isn't there to meet the timelines of reaching the moon in the next decade and MARS by the 2030s.

And NASA's inability to send astronauts to space - a capacity lost in 2011 when the space shuttle program ended, as planned, after 30 years - is a lasting blemish in the  agency's stellar image.

While US private industries toil on new crew spaceships, NASA still must pay Russia $80 million per seat for US astronauts to ride to space on a Soyuz capsule.


In 1957, the Soviet Union launched the first satellite into space with Sputnik 1, while US attempts were were failing miserably.

The US government was already working on reaching space, but mainly under the guise of the military.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower appealed to  Congress to create a separate, civilian space agency to better focus on race exploration.

He signed the  National  Aeronautics  and  Space Administration Authorization Act into law on July 29, 1958.

NASA opened its doors in October  1958, with about  8,000  employees and a budget of $100 million.


The Soviets won another key part of the  space race  in April 1961 when Yuri Gagarin became the first person to to orbit the Earth.

A month later, John F. Kennedy  unveiled plans to land a man on the MOON  by decade's end.

The Honor and Serving of the latest Global Operational Research on Space and Frontiers continues.


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