Unexpected answers to questions about NASA

The U.S. National Aerospace Administration, known by its acronym NASA, was founded on July 29, 1958. In the 65 years since its founding, this organization has been involved in dozens of different projects, and during this time, many myths have been made about it. That’s why we’ve prepared five questions, to which the answer may surprise you.


1. Where is NASA headquarters located?

Oddly enough, at first, NASA simply didn’t have a place to officially call its headquarters. From its founding in 1958 until 1961, this role was filled by the Langley Research Center and then by a complex of buildings in Houston, Texas, now known as the Lyndon Johnson Space Center.

Officially, the headquarters of NASA named after Mary Jackson appeared in 1992. It became two low-rise buildings in Washington. Its official address is 300 Hidden Figures Way.

The street got its name in honor of women mathematicians who worked at NASA, one of whom was Mary Jackson, after whom the headquarters was named.

2. Is NASA run by the US military?

Initially, NASA was created as a civil administration. And it reports directly to the President of the United States, not to the Minister of Defense. Almost the only military personnel who play an important role in the life of the organization are some astronauts, who are officially on duty and have military ranks that mean nothing to NASA.

They carry out some defense projects together with the military, but in all cases, it is considered that they help them and nothing more. But the American military implements most of its own projects independently.

3. Has NASA ever built airplanes?

Although NASA primarily deals with satellites and rovers, the organization has been building airplanes almost throughout its history. It started with the Bell X-1, the world’s first aircraft to break the sound barrier. It was created by the predecessors of NASA. Then there was the X-15 suborbital vehicle, which was essentially a rocket plane.

Then came the era of “shuttles” and they were also airplanes, since they completed their flight thanks to aerodynamic planes. It was engaged in NASA aircraft in the XXI century. We are talking about the X-59 QueSST, which should overcome the sound barrier, avoiding increased loads.

4. Who owns the International Space Station?

The International Space Station is a project to which many states have contributed, and the question of who it actually belongs to is regulated by a number of international agreements. But in fact, NASA is the main user of the station.

It owns modules: Unity, Destiny, Quest, Node 2, Tranquility, Cupola, BEAM, Leonardo, Bishop and Zarya. In addition, NASA owns all the external structures of the station and it equally uses the Kibō and Columbus modules by their owners — JAXA and ESA. And only the modules Zvezda, Poisk, Nauka and Rassvet belong to Russia.

5. How far into space have NASA spacecraft flown?

NASA owns spacecraft that have flown farther from Earth than others and have the longest service life. The champions here are the Voyager-1 and Voyager-2 spacecraft. 46 years have passed since their launch in 1977, and during this time they managed to fly away from the Sun at a distance of 159.3 and 133.21 AU, respectively.

Launched much later, the New Horizons probe broke the 50 AU mark back in April 2021. As for the duration of the missions, the impressive results are demonstrated by the Pioneer series spacecraft launched in the 1960s and 1970s. The connection with them was lost back in the 1990s-2000s, but they may well remain functional until now.

How far have the NASA spacecraft flown

Follow us on Twitter to get the most interesting space news in time