NASA insignia, 1967.
© National Aeronautics & Space Administration / Science & Society
NASA, the US National aeronautics and Space Administration, was established in 1958 in response to the Soviet Union's succesful launch of its Sputnik satellite, an event which stunned the American government and military. The organisation initially concentrated on manned spaceflight, with the Mercury and Gemini programmes. By 1967 NASA was fully committed to landing a man on the Moon by 1970, as pledged by President John F Kennedy in 1961.