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What Is NASA? (What Was?)

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Find out all about NASA in this out-of-this-world addition to the What Was? series. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, better known as NASA, began in 1958. With its creation, the United States hoped to ensure it won the space race against the Soviet Union. Author Sarah Fabiny describes the origins of NASA, the launching of the Apollo program that landed the first human on the moon, and the many missions and discoveries that have taken place since then. NASA has a rich history and still plays an important role in uncovering the mysteries of the universe. Readers are sure to get sucked into this book. About the Author Sarah Fabiny has written several Who Was? titles, including biographies of Beatrix Potter, Frida Kahlo, Rachel Carson, and Gloria Steinem. Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. What Is NASA?     On September 12, 1962, President John F. Kennedy stepped up to a podium at Rice University in Houston, Texas. It was a warm, sunny day. More than forty thousand people, many of them schoolchildren, were in the stadium to hear the president.   About halfway through the speech, President Kennedy made a bold statement. He announced, “We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”   Five years earlier, Kennedy and the country had watched the Soviet Union launch the first man-made satellite into space. (A satellite is an object—either natural, like the moon, or man-made—that revolves around a larger object in space.) In April of 1961, they had watched their Cold War enemy put a man in space. In 1962, the United States was losing the space race, and losing badly. The president knew that the space race would continue and that the United States had to be in it. And not just be in it, but win it.   President Kennedy’s words got the country excited. The United States was going to send a man to the moon. It was going to win the space race. It would be a big and important job to accomplish this. And that job would be up to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration—NASA.   Tragically, President Kennedy would not live to see his dream of putting a man on the moon fulfilled. A little over a year after he gave his speech at Rice University, he was assassinated. But the country and NASA did not give up on President Kennedy’s dream. The United States would be the first country to put a man on the moon.     Chapter 1: Looking to the Stars     From the earliest times, people have looked up at the sky and imagined what was there. They dreamed of traveling into space and exploring what was beyond Earth. The stars and planets in the nighttime sky captured humans’ imaginations. But how would human beings ever be able to travel up and out of Earth’s atmosphere? (Outer space begins about sixty-two miles above Earth’s surface.) How could we ever explore the moon, the planets, our solar system, our galaxy, and what lies beyond even that? These were questions that scientists, philosophers, and astronomers asked for hundreds of years.   By the end of the nineteenth century, some engineers and mathematicians in Russia and Germany had come up with ideas about how space travel might be possible. Rockets would be needed to launch anything—or anyone—into space. The engineers and mathematicians proposed that rockets could break the pull of Earth’s gravity and take humans to outer space.   In the 1880s, a Russian man named Konstantin Tsiolkovsky developed the basic theory of rocket propulsion. He figured out how much fuel a rocket would need and how fast it would have to go to get into space. In the United States, an inventor named Robert Goddard was also working on launching rockets into space. But he did more than just make calculations.   On March 16, 1926, Goddard launched the first-ever liquid-fuel rocket. The rocket flew to a height of
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What Is NASA? (What Was?)

Rs. 299 Rs. 199