The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the agency of the United States Federal Government responsible for the civilian space program as well asaeronautics and aerospaceresearch.
President Dwight D. Eisenhowerestablished NASA in 1958 with a distinctly civilian (rather than military) orientation encouraging peaceful applications in space science. TheNational Aeronautics and Space Actwas passed on July 29, 1958, disestablishing NASA's predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The new agency became operational on October 1, 1958.
Since that time, most US space exploration efforts have been led by NASA, including the Apollo moon-landing missions, the Skylab space station, and later the Space Shuttle. Currently, NASA is supporting theInternational Space Station and is overseeing the development of theOrion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, the Space Launch System andCommercial Crew vehicles. The agency is also responsible for theLaunch Services Program (LSP) which provides oversight of launch operations and countdown management for unmanned NASA launches.
NASA science is focused on better understanding Earth through theEarth Observing System.