On March 3, 2015, NASA celebrates 100 years since the founding of its predecessor — the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, or NACA. With a small budget and no paid staff, the NACA began developing the capabilities our nation needed to gain leadership in aeronautics. Throughout and beyond World War II, the NACA developed or helped develop many aeronautical breakthroughs that are still used today — from engine cowlings, to retractable landing gear, and jet engine compressors and turbines. When the nation’s focus began turning to space during the 1950s, it was decided that the NACA’s 7,500 employees and $300 million in facilities would transition on October 1, 1958, to a new agency. Some of the NACA’s brightest minds became leaders of the space effort and directors of NASA research centers. One former NACA employee put the first footprints on the moon.
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