The birth and legacy of NASA.
NASA opened its doors on October 1st, 1958.
But it was not the government's first flight research agency.
The National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics or NACA was founded way back in 1915.
The agency was tasked to conduct aeronautical research including the development of wind tunnels.
The NACA was a very successful agency.
The program made history in 1947 when Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier.
But it wasn't all about breaking records.
The D558 has a radical new design that had swept wings.
Thanks to NACA research, the design was proven to be more efficient, and became common on commercial jet aircraft.
Years before NASA was founded, the NACA was already researching rockets.
It even went as far as researching re-entry vehicles.
In 1957, the USSR sucessfully launched Sputnik 1, the first satellite to orbit Earth, forcing the US government to make changes.
> MATA is in process of brief change.
As you know, the final decisions are being made by the democratic processes of our chosen form of government that will result in the establishment of a new agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Agency, built around the present NACA The responsibilities for the non-military aspects of space activities.
But now we have come to a new day.
NASAA is to become part of a new agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Two, one, by command.
And like that, the Space Race was on.
NASA's first decade in space.
Much of the first decade was spent gathering data from satellites, telescopes, and research vessels.
As research advanced, satellites carried plants, microorganisms, and animals.
These bio satellites taught us how weightlessness, radiation, velocity, and pressure affected life.
NASA sent probes to Mars and Venus to learn more about our neighbors.
NASA's next step was to place an unmanned vessel on the Moon, proving that a person could walk on its surface.
In 1962 the Ranger 4 accomplished that mission.
That gave a green light for astronauts to begin preparing themselves for spaceflight.
They began going through intense conditioning and training exercises to be ready for one thing.
Four, three, two, one, zero, ignition.
All right, lift off and the [UNKNOWN] has started.
Okay, we're on our way.
Okay, reading you loud and clear.
Each test flight provided new and critical information.
NASA began docking with space craft already in orbit.
Which led to space walks.
And of course, the most important test, bringing astronauts back to earth safely.
Some of NASA's missions didn't go according to plan.
But with every failure, there's potential to learn and grow.
Pushing us further into the infinite darkness of space and bringing back new knowledge in preparation for one of humans' greatest achievements.
To the Moon.
July 16th, 1969.
Mission Commander Niel Armstrong prepares for the historic trek.
The team rose early Eat breakfast and dress in their space suits.
ten, nine, ignition sequence starts, six, five, four, three, two, one, zero, all engines running.
We have a liftoff 32 minutes past the hour.
Liftoff on Apollo 11.
Roger we've got a roll-
The journey to the moon lasted three days.
The team kept busy navigating, observing, and grooming.
On July 19th, Apollo 11 enters orbit around the moon, sending back incredible images.
Good radar data.
We're now in the approach phase.
Everything looking good.
Still looking very good.
100 feet down in 19, 40 feet down, 2.5, picking up some dust.
4 forward, 4 forward, drifting to the right a little.
On back light, okay, engine stopped.
We copy, get down, Eagle.
Tranquility Base here, the eagle has landed.
Seven hours after landing Armstrong finally steps out of the Lunar Module.
That's one small step for man,
One giant leap for mankind.
They left behind an American flag.
Along with medals honoring those who lost their lives in earlier space tests.
They also left messages of goodwill from 73 countries.
After spending 21 hours on the moon surface, it was time to go home
The lunar module rejoined the command module and headed back to Earth.
Apollo 11 and crew came hurling back to Earth at 25,000 mph.
The crew was welcomed home with rescue divers and thunderous applause.
The astronauts wore special air-tight garments to protect against the possibility of Lunar contamination.
They were immediately placed into quarantine.
The historic journey ended on July 27th, 1969.
The mission was a success, unlocking a wealth of knowledge about the moon, its history, and its composition.
From all of us here at CNET congratulations NASA on 60 years of space exploration and research.
For more news on NASA's 60th birthday visit CNET.com.