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A History of the NASA

Chapter 1 - The origins of NASA

The National Advisory Comitee for Aeronautics was founded in 1915. Although it were the American Wright brothers, who made the first controlled flight in an airplane, the United States soon lagged behind the Eurpoeans in aviation techniques. Because of World War I, the Europeans forced the development of new aircrafts. As a consequence, scientists within the United States demanded a national organization, which would help the States to keep pace with the rapid developments in aeronautics - the NACA.
For fiscal 1915, the fledgling organization received a budget of $5000, an annual appropriation that remained constant for the next five years. This was not much even by standards of that time, but it must be remembered that this was an advisory committee only, ”to supervise and direct the scientific study of the problems of flight, with a view to their practical solutions.”
Once the NACA isolated a problem, its study and solution was generally done by a government agency or university laboratory. The main committee of 12 members met semiannually in Washington. An Executive Committee of seven members, chosen from the main committee living in the Washington area, supervised the NACA's activities and kept track of aeronautical problems to be considered for action.
The first NACA research center was opened at Langley in Hampton, Virginia. In a wartime environment, the NACA was soon busy. It evaluated aeronautical queries from the Army, conducted experiments and ran engine tests. From the beginning the NACA was not a military organization, however it’s research work while World War I focused on military affairs and the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory was built on a US Army Base. Soon a small airfield and a wind tunnel for aerodynamics testing were set up. Although after the war, the Army transferred its research facilities to Dayton, Ohio, military influence at Langley remained high. In 1920 the NACA owned a airfield, a w...

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