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National Aeronautics and Space Administration NASA NASA The era of space exploration began in 1957 when the Soviet Union launched the first satellite Sputnik into Earth orbit October 4 1957 The Soviet also were the first to launch a manned spacecraft when Yuri Gagarni made one orbit around the Earth in 1961 Americans were electrified by the news A year later the Soviets issued an ultimatum that the Western Allies evacuate Berlin Next came a proposal that Berlin become a free city There waere fears that the Cold War of coexistence could turn into a world war America also had goals they wanted to fulfil A year later the United States Congress passed the National Aeronautics and Space Act to promote and coordinate the United States space program In 1958 the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was established commonly referred to NASA Shortly after NASAs founding the launching site at Cape Canaveral Florida and the Johnson Space Center in Houston Texas were planned and built Thus creating the space race According to the 1958 act NASAs functions are to conduct research on
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