turns 50 this year.
like a lot of people who reach middle age, the U.S. aerospace agency
is not only looking forward to the future, but also taking a look
back at its legacy.
the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was established
five decades ago, the world was a much different place than it is
now. The Russians had just launched the first artificial satellite,
Sputnik, the year before. Commercial jet service was in its infancy,
and few people had ever heard the word computer, much less used one.
now Americans and the rest of the globe have access to information
and images at the speed of light and the touch of a button.
Satellites guide drivers and pilots as they travel, and some say jet
airliners have become the buses of yesteryear.
the country and NASA’s next big challenge in aerospace technology
development? Visitors can find out for themselves at EAA AirVenture.
The man in charge of overseeing the beginning of NASA’s next
half-century, Administrator Michael Griffin, is coming to Oshkosh
for the first time…at least as the head of NASA.
experienced pilot and flight instructor, Griffin will share his
thoughts with AirVenture participants. He’s slated to host an Ask
the Administrator forum at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 29, in Utah
Valley University Pavilion 6 in the Honda Forums Plaza.
has a history with NASA. Although he’s been the administrator for
only three years, he also served as chief engineer and associate
administrator for exploration in the early 1990s.
wrote about NASA’s achievements in a unique 50th anniversary
commemorative magazine earlier this year. Here’s an excerpt:
half century ago, a new federal agency was created to accomplish
feats of exploration and discovery unparalleled in human history.
The men and women of NASA have been responsible for such epic
achievements as landing 12 human explorers on the moon, sending
robots to scout the solar system from Mercury to Pluto, and making
revolutionary discoveries about the nature of our universe. Closer
to home, people have reaped enormous benefits from NASA’s
communications, weather and Earth monitoring satellites, and the
agency’s continued commitment to excellence in aeronautics
research. Our quality of life has been improved by thousands of new
technologies derived from NASA research.
we can take pride in these accomplishments, the true space age still
lies ahead. Soon, NASA and partners from other space-faring nations
and the commercial sector will build a research station on the moon.
This first outpost on another world will extend the human frontier
in a fundamentally new way, it will stimulate unforeseen advances in
technology, and it will produce new scientific results obtainable in
no other way. And, looking to the next steps on humanity’s outward
path, our work on the moon and aboard the International Space
Station will pave the way for the first astronauts to explore Mars
in the coming decades."
50th anniversary is also being honored at other venues at
AirVenture, including EAA’s Theater in the Woods. Former astronaut
Robert "Hoot" Gibson is planning to host a birthday
celebration Wednesday evening. Former astronaut Joe Engle is
scheduled to pay tribute to 50 years of NASA aeronautics on Saturday