On that historic day, July 29, President Eisenhower signed the act establishing NASA

On that historic day, July 29, President Eisenhower signed the act establishing NASA

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The United States dared to go where no man had gone before when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act into law on that historic day, July 29, 1958.

The legislation established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

The act was a direct response to the success of the Soviet launch of Sputnik, the first artificial satellite, in October 1957.

The achievement sparked fears in the US and western Europe that control of the last frontier would be ceded to the Soviets.

SPUTNIK MOMENTS: THREE SPACE FLIGHT EVENTS SHOCK US IN 1957

These fears, real as they are, were short-lived.

The founding of NASA brought about American dominance in space and a period of exploratory achievement unparalleled in human history.

President Eisenhower with Hugh Dryden and T. Keith Glennan, August 19, 1958. Eisenhower (center) swears to Dr.  T. Keith Glennan (right) as NASA's first Administrator and Dr.  Hugh Dryden (left) as Deputy Administrator.  NASA was established to conduct civilian research related to space and aeronautics.  (Artist NASA.)

President Eisenhower with Hugh Dryden and T. Keith Glennan, August 19, 1958. Eisenhower (center) swears to Dr. T. Keith Glennan (right) as NASA’s first Administrator and Dr. Hugh Dryden (left) as Deputy Administrator. NASA was established to conduct civilian research related to space and aeronautics. (Artist NASA.)
(Heritage Space/Heritage Images via Getty Images)

NASA quickly ran the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo space programs, each building on the success of the other.

NASA witnessed one of the crowning moments in history when Apollo 11 landed American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon on July 20, 1969 – just 11 years after Eisenhower signed the Space Act.

THE FIRST MAN ON THE MOON, A UNIQUE AMERICAN ACHIEVEMENT, STILL AMAZES US TODAY

No human has set foot on the moon since the end of the Apollo program in 1972.

Astronaut Eugene A. Cernan, commander of Apollo 17, salutes the U.S. flag on the lunar surface during extravehicular activities (EVA) on NASA's final lunar landing mission.  The Lunar Module

Astronaut Eugene A. Cernan, commander of Apollo 17, salutes the U.S. flag on the lunar surface during extravehicular activities (EVA) on NASA’s final lunar landing mission. The Lunar Module Challenger is in the left background behind the flag and the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) is also in the background behind him. With the completion of the Apollo program, Cernan was the last human to set foot on the moon.
(Heritage Space/Heritage Images via Getty Images)

The founding of NASA joins the short list of Eisenhower’s greatest accomplishments—first as general and then as president. He is one of the most momentous people in American history.

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As Supreme Allied Commander in World War II, Eisenhower tactfully held together a coalition of American, British, and French leaders despite conflicting egos and conflicting personal and national goals.

General Eisenhower gives the agenda,

General Eisenhower gives the paratroopers in England the order of the day “Total victory – nothing else” just before they board their planes to take part in the first attack of the invasion of the European continent.
(US Army Signal Corps photo via AP)

He orchestrated the invasion of Europe on June 6, 1944, D-Day, arguably the greatest single logistical and military feat in human history.

And he cited the total defeat and military disintegration of Nazi Germany less than 3.5 years after America’s entry into the conflict.

His two-year presidency (1953-1961) was a time of unprecedented American peace, prosperity, and global hegemony.

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Notably, he ended America’s involvement in the Korean War in 1953, created the US Interstate Highway System in 1956, and signed the Civil Rights Act of 1957.

Then, in 1958, he inspired a daring new era of human exploration, this time of the cosmos.

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