Five Aviation and Space Anniversaries

Last week, Doug spent a day at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center (AFRC) attending a #NASASocial event dubbed #StateOfNASA. Read last week’s post HERE.

#1. NACA’s 100th (last year)

NASA’s predecessor organization was the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). NACA was founded on March 3rd, 1915, a little more than eleven years after the Wright brothers first took to the skies.

naca_embem_over_tpt_door_2_0

#2. NASA Langley’s 100th (next year)

Langley Research Center (LaRC) was established in 1917 by NACA. The facility is named for the Wright brothers’ competitor, aviation pioneer Samuel Pierpont Langley. LaRC is famous for the contributions to aerospace engineering made by its more than forty wind tunnels.

Mercury-FST-LaRC
The Mercury capsule is one of the most famous vehicles tested in the Langley Full-Scale Tunnel. Here, a technician checks the Mercury full-scale capsule model prior to testing in the Full-Scale Tunnel in 1959. Much of the research and development of the Mercury program was actually conducted at NASA.

#3. NASA Glenn’s 75th (this year)

Founded as the Aircraft Engine Research Center in Cleveland in 1941, NASA’s Glenn Research Center will celebrate its Diamond Anniversary in 2016. Until 1999, the facility was known as Lewis Research Center when it was renamed for NASA astronaut and US senator John Glenn. Its full name is NASA John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field, which simply flows off the lips.

In this image, engineers test the RL-10 engine in NASA Lewis (now Glenn) Research Center's Propulsion Systems Laboratory. Developed by Pratt & Whitney, the engine was designed to power the Centaur second-stage rocket. Centaur was responsible for sending the Surveyor spacecraft on its mission to land on the Moon and to explore the surface in the early stages of the Apollo program.
In this image, engineers test the RL-10 engine in NASA Lewis (now Glenn) Research Center’s Propulsion Systems Laboratory. Developed by Pratt & Whitney, the engine was designed to power the Centaur second-stage rocket. Centaur was responsible for sending the Surveyor spacecraft on its mission to land on the Moon and to explore the surface in the early stages of the Apollo program.

#4. 5th Anniversary of President Obama’s National Space Plan (this year)

It’s been a little more than five years since America shifted its next destination in space from a plan for returning to the Moon to a Mars voyage. In a speech at Kennedy Space Center delivered on April 15, 2010, President Obama articulated a program that would have NASA astronauts visit an asteroid in 2025 and see humans venture to Mars in the mid-2030s.

journey_to_mars

#5. 35th Anniversary of STS-1 (this year)

Unfortunately, Administrator Bolden only mentioned four specific anniversaries in his presentation. Recently, our own campus celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Challenger accident by adding the papers of Morton-Thiokol engineer Allan McDonald to the collections of the Leatherby Libraries where Doug works.

Just a few weeks from now is the 35th anniversary of the first space shuttle flight, STS-1. On April 12, 1981, astronauts John Young and Robert Crippen were onboard as the first Shuttle mission headed into low-Earth orbit. This date also coincides, of course, with anniversary of the first human mission into space. Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s Vostok-1 roared into space 55 years ago in 1961.

 

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