Fun Facts About NASA

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Did you know that NASA stands for National Aeronautics and Space Administration?

Learn more about NASA with these 23 knowledge facts.

Fact 1: Before NASA came to exist, President Woodrow Wilson started NACA, National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, to lead scientific study of the problems of flights. NACA was also in charge of researching and experimenting in the field of aeronautics.

Fact 2: NASA became operational on the 1st of October, 1958, a year after the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1.

Fact 3: The first African American woman in space was Dr. Mae Jemison.

Fact 4: „Charlie Brown“ was the name given to Apollo 10’s command module, while its lunar module was named „Snoopy“.

Fact 5: The first piloted Apollo mission was Apollo 7, which took place October 11-12, 1968. The astronauts on board the spacecraft were Wally Schirra, Donn Eisele, and Walter Cunningham.

Fact 6: Armalcolite, a mineral discovered by the crew of Apollo 11, was named after the three astronauts – ARMstrong, ALdrin and COLlins.

Fact 7: Do you know what the astronauts on Apollo 11 ate during their mission? Meal A consisted of bacon squares, peaches, sugar cookie cubes, coffee, and pineapple-grapefruit drink, while meal B included beef stew, cream of chicken soup, date fruitcake, grape punch, and orange drink.

Fact 8: Landsat, revolutionary satellites, were first launched in 1972 with the purpose of photographing the surface of the Earth from space. Landsat sensors record emitted energy in various wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum. This data is then used to monitor water quality, glacier recessions, invasive species encroachment, land use change, deforestation rates, population growth and natural disasters.

Fact 9: The first Space Shuttle to orbit the Earth was Columbia.

Fact 10: Explorer 1 was the first U.S. Earth orbiting satellite and was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on the 31st of January, 1958.

Fact 11: The first female commander of the space shuttle was Eileen M. Collins.

Fact 12: To be an astronaut, a pilot must complete 1000 hours of flying in a jet aircraft.

Fact 13: Do you know how many Apollo missions successfully landed on the Moon? The answer is six – Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17! Apollo 13 experienced an explosion in one of its oxygen tanks which forced the crew to orbit the Moon and return back to Earth.

Fact 14: The Space Shuttle program had over 120 successful flights and two disasters, Challenger in 1986 and Columbia in 2003 that resulted in the loss of crew.

Fact 15: Only one president witnessed a space shuttle launch! President Bill Clinton and wife Hillary Clinton watched STS-92 launch to space on October 29, 1998.

Fact 16: Why the name Apollo? Apollo was a Greek god of prophecy and colonization. Abe Silverstein, one of the founding fathers of NASA’s Spaceflight Center, suggested the name Apollo be given to the first lunar missions.

Fact 17: The first American to conduct a spacewalk was Ed White, during the Gemini 4 mission on June 3, 1965.

Fact 18: The first orbital docking was performed during the Gemini VIII on March 16 1966, by Neil A. Armstrong and David Scott. Their spacecraft docked with a target vehicle and this became the first coupling of two spacecraft.

Fact 19: Twelve men have walked on the moon!

Fact 20: Skylab was the name of the first American space station.

Fact 21: There is no sound in space! Namely, in space there is nothing to receive and carry sound. There are no airwaves, so when something makes a noise there is nothing to carry that noise to a receiver.

Fact 22: NASA’s Space Shuttle is the first reusable spacecraft in the world! When launched it is like a rocket, it moves around space like a spacecraft and lands like an ordinary airplane.

Fact 23: A space suit weighs around 280 pounds on the ground, but in space it weighs nothing!

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