NASA: Past, Present and Future
by Jeremy Wray
April 26, 2001
PSU Beaver Campus
The topics of outer space, how to get there, what's out there, and what can we do out there, have been around since the beginning of human civilization. Until only recently, the last several decades, our thoughts were at best, guesses. With the beginning of the industrial age and the technological revolution came more information about outer space than we could ever dreamed of. With advancing technology, our reaches and goals are almost endless.
Space is also not the goal of a single nation or group, but a worldwide dream. This worldwide space dream is now becoming a reality with the creation of the International Space Station (ISS) which is the going to be the first multi-national space platform ever created. With this culmination of some of the brightest minds on the planet, there should and will be many advancements to come.
As with any industry, there have been many high and low points to the space programs. Many of the low points came as loss of both life and much money. These also came mostly in the beginning of the space programs when we were still unsure of many of the variables that space presents. Many good people sacrificed their lives in the name of science and will be eternally remembered and honored. For every tragedy or low point there were several high points. With increasing technology will come safer and more reliable systems that will continue to blast humankind into space and expand out frontiers.
This booklet will discuss several space oriented and related topics. These will include a section on the history and development of the American space program. The American space program has been around longer than NASA and has played a vital role in human civilization. There have been numerous technological advancements that have come as by-products to the space program and have been and are used in our daily lives.
The second topic to be discussed will be the Challenger Disaster, which is one of the most widely known and highly publicized disasters ever. There were several factors that led to the explosion that killed seven American astronauts, the main one being a leak in one of the many o-rings on the booster rockets. Because of the high amount of publicity that the accident received many people were effected because of it. This accident also brought some good things along with it. There is now a heightened level of inspection and security around the space program that will hopefully prevent another Challenger scale accident from occurring.
Another point of discussion in this booklet will be the how NASA has been important to us in the past and how it will continue to help us climb the evolutionary ladder. One of NASA's largest present and future programs is the...