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At 60, NASA shoots at the revival of the glory days

Sixty years ago, stimulated by competition with the Soviet Union, the United States founded NASA and embarked on a voyage that would bring the Americans to the moon within a decade.

Since then, the US Space Agency has seen glorious successes and successes failing in its efforts to expand the frontiers of space exploration, including a fatal launching rampart in 1967, in which three and two deadly shuttle explosions killed in 1986 and 2003 crashed.

Now NASA is struggling to redefine an increasingly crowded field of international space agencies and commercial interests, with the goal of returning to space.

These bold goals make for raging rhetoric, but experts worry that the money is simply not there in the next decade and Mars in the 2030s

and NASA's inability to send astronauts into space – a capacity lost as planned by the Space Shuttle program in 2011 after 30 years – is a duration (19659006) While the US private sector is working on crew-owned spacecraft, NASA still has $ 80 million to go Seat pay for US astronauts to fly into space on a Soyuz capsule.

– How it started – [19659008] In 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first satellite into space, while the US attempts failed miserably.

The US government was already working to reach space, but mostly under the guise of the military.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower appealed to Congress to establish a separate civil space agency to better focus on space exploration.

On July 29, 1958, he signed the law authorizing the aerospace administration.

Doors in October 1958, With Approximately 8,000 Employees and a Budget of $ 100 Million

– Space Race –

The Soviets won another important part of the space race in April 1961, when Yuri Gagarin first circled the earth [19659013] A month later, John F. Kennedy revealed plans to land a human on the moon by the end of the year.

"Not a single space project at this time will be more impressive for humanity or more important for a long time." spatial exploration of space; and no one will be so hard or expensive to reach, "said the US President.

The Apollo program was born.

In 1962, the astronaut John Glenn became the first American to circled the Earth Armstrong first man to walk on the moon.

American astronauts of the era were national heroes – military pilots with the combination of brains, guts and lard, famous as "The Right Stuff", the title of the classic book by Tom Wolfe. [Armstrong'swordswhenhesetfootonthelunarsurface-"asmallhumanstepagiantleapforhumanity"-havebeenheardbymillionsaroundtheworld

"Apollo was a one-sided demonstration of the national Power, "recalls John Logsdon, emeritus professor at the Space Policy Institute of George Washington University.

" It was Kennedy's decision to geopolitise the space program as an instrument To make use of competition, which made NASA an instrument of national policy, w "With a very significant budget share," he told AFP.

In the Apollo era, a total of five percent of the state budget went to NASA.

Now NASA gets about $ 18 billion a year, less than half a percent "It's no longer the same national policy tool," said Logsdon.

– New Era –

In the 1980s, more glory days followed with the birth of the NASA Shuttle Program, a bus-sized reusable spacecraft that brought astronauts into space, and finally to the International Space Station, the 1998 started her work.

But what is NASA today?

President Donald Trump has advocated a return to the moon, a moon gate that would allow a steady stream of spacecraft and humans to visit the moon and serve as a point of departure for Mars.

Trump also called for the creation of a "space force," a sixth branch of Mars, a military that would focus on defending US interests.

NASA has a long history b Considered an international leader in space innovation, the international field today is much more populated than it was 60 years ago.

"Now you have about 70 countries involved in space activities in one way or another," said Logsdon.

Instead of competing with international space agencies, "the focus shifted to cooperation" to cut costs and accelerate innovation, said Teasel Muir-Harmony, Curator of the National Air and Space Museum.

– "How can NASA benefit?" –

NASA Administrator Jim Briddenstine recently said in a panel discussion that he would like to work with other space-based countries.

He mentioned the possibility of strengthening cooperation with China, and how he had recently traveled to Israel for commercial interests working for a lunar lander.

Briddentine said the reason for his visit was to find out, "how do you do that, what are you doing and is there a way NASA can take advantage of it?" 19659038] NASA is retreating from low earth orbit and plans to transfer the Space Station to commercial interests after 2024 and invest millions in seed capital to help private companies such as SpaceX and Boeing build capsules that will take people into space in the coming years carry.

In this environment, according to Bridenstine, "it will be one of the fundamental challenges I face during my tenure finding out what NASA does, as opposed to what it buys as a service from commercial providers."

Br "Trump's budget proposals for NASA were" very generous.

With a view to a crew mission to the Moon in just five years, NASA plans to provide around $ 10 billion of its nearly $ 20 billion budget for 2019 Lunar Research

The predecessor of Bridenstine at the helm of NASA, the retired astronaut Charles Bolden warns against repeating the mistakes of the shuttle era when the United States completed its human exploration program without another spaceship. 19659043] "We can not tolerate another gap like this," said Bolden.

"It's really critical for NASA to facilitate the success of commercial units to operate in low earth orbit, about 250 miles (400 kilometers) above the planet." And then for NASA, what they do doing well. Be the leader in the moon orbit. "

NASA struggles to redefine itself in an increasingly overcrowded field of international space agencies and commercial interests, and has set itself the goal of giving back space

A complete replica of the world's first artificial satellite Sputnik, located on the Launched October 4, 1957 by the Soviet Union from a test track in Kazakhstan

Neil Armstrong, pictured in an undated NASA handout photo, was the first person to enter the moon

NASA lost the ability to use astronauts in the Sending space as the space shuttle program ended in 2011

NASA deviates from low earth orbit and plans to hand over the space station to commercial interests after 2024 and spend millions in seed money on private companies such as SpaceX and Boeing [19659047]
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