The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA ) is an independent agency of the US federal government responsible

for the civilian space program as well as aeronautics and space research. NASA was established in 1958, replacing the National Advisory

Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The new agency was to have a distinctly civic orientation, encouraging peaceful applications in space

science. Since its inception, most US space exploration efforts have been led by NASA, including the Apollo Moon landing missions,

the Skylab space station, and later the Space Shuttle. NASA is supporting the International Space Station and overseeing the development

of theOrion spacecraft, space launch system, commercial crew vehicles and the planned Lunar Gateway space station. The agency is also

responsible for the Launch Services Program, which provides oversight of launch operations and countdownmanagement for NASA launches.

NASA's science focuses on better understanding Earth through the Earth Observing System , Advancing heliophysics through the efforts

of the Science Mission Directorate's Heliophysics Research Program,Exploring objects throughout the Solar System with advanced robotic

spacecraft such as New Horizons,and researching astrophysics topics, such as the Big Bang, through great observatories and related programs