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NACA/NASA: Celebrating a Century of Innovation, Exploration, and Discovery in Flight and Space

Richly illustrated historical articles examine the major eras of the NACA’s existence, including recollections and interviews with and about the agency’s notable personnel; aeronautical research and breakthroughs; and many of the advanced aircraft and spacecraft developed by, with, and through the agency. Other articles provide a detailed look at the programs of the Aeronautical Research Mission Directorate today, as well as those of NASA’s other mission directorates; describe NASA’s research partnerships with academia and industry; survey NASA STEM initiatives; and much more.


The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) came into being, much like its successor organization, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), in response to the success of others. Even though the Wright brothers had been the first to make a powered airplane flight in 1903, by the beginning of World War I in 1914, the United States lagged behind Europe in airplane technology. In order to catch up, Congress founded NACA on March 3, 1915, as an independent government agency reporting directly to the president. Its enacting legislation was attached as a rider to the naval appropriations bill for that year. Unlike NASA, NACA began almost without anyone noticing. It started simply, with chairman Brig. Gen. George Scriven, chief of the Army’s Signal Corps; a main committee of 12 members representing the government, military, and industry; an executive committee with 7 members, chosen from the main committee, and one employee, John F. Victory. Committee members were not paid and served only in an advisory capacity, meeting a few times a year to direct the aim of the new organization. Initially, the task of the committee was to coordinate efforts already underway across the nation. However, its mission and workforce soon grew to cover a greater role in aeronautics research in the United States. This special commemorative edition examines the history and impact of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, its transformation into the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA today, and what the future holds.

Richly illustrated historical articles examine the major eras of the NACA’s existence, including recollections and interviews with and about the agency’s notable personnel; aeronautical research and breakthroughs; and many of the advanced aircraft and spacecraft developed by, with, and through the agency. Other articles provide a detailed look at the programs of the Aeronautical Research Mission Directorate today, as well as those of NASA’s other mission directorates; describe NASA’s research partnerships with academia and industry; survey NASA STEM initiatives; and much more.

Celebrating a Century of Innovation, Exploration, and Discovery in Flight and Space is authored by aviation industry experts including Walter J. Boyne, Craig Collins, Edward Goldstein, Scott R. Gourley, J.R. Wilson and Dwight Jon Zimmerman.

Cover and title subject to change without notice.

Draft Synopsis of Editorial Contents:

NACA HISTORY

  • The NACA’s Beginnings (1915-1941)
  • Helping to win WWII (1941-1945)
  • The Jet Age and Beyond (1946-1958)
  • Aeronautics Under NASA (1958-present)
  • NACA’s Leaders and Heroes (Whitcomb etc.)
  • 100 Years of Memories: Recollections of NACA 

AERONAUTICS RESEARCH MISSION DIRECTORATE TODAY

  • Research Area: Safe, efficient growth in global operations.
  • Research Area: Innovation in commercial supersonic aircraft.
  • Research Area: Ultra-efficient commercial vehicles.
  • Research Area: Transition to low-carbon propulsion.
  • Research Area: Real-time, system-wide safety assurance.
  • Research Area: Assured autonomy for aviation transformation.   

NASA’s OTHER MISSION DIRECTORATES

Human Exploration and Operations

  • The Human Exploration and Operations (HEO) Mission Directorate provides, leads, and manages space operations related to human exploration in and beyond low-Earth orbit. Including SLS, Orion, Commercial Space Developments, and more.

Science

  • NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) and the nation’s science community use space observatories to look back and study the Earth from space, as well as look outward observe our solar system, our galaxy and beyond. The directorate also uses vehicles to visit other bodies in the solar system. 

Space Technology

  • The Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) develops pioneering new technologies and capabilities to support NASA in achieving its current and future missions. 

Partnerships

  • A look at NASA’s partnerships with academia, commercial industry, and other civilian and defense organizations.
  • NASA University Research Centers Project
  • STEM Education and NASA’s Future Workforce

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