Initially developed from one of Adolph Hitler’s most feared weapons, the V2 rocket, the space program has accomplished much in just a few short decades. The first American manned space flight, which put astronaut Alan Shepard into space, was launched in 1961; in 1965, Edward White became the first American to walk in space—for a total of 21 minutes. In 1969, Neil Armstrong uttered those now-famous words as he became the first human to walk on the Moon.
These and many other achievements, once considered unimaginable, have inspired and amazed the American people and engaged our brightest scientific minds.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration was established by Congress in 1958 to guide American research in space. Dwight D. Eisenhower rose above many more senior American officers to become Supreme Commander of Allied forces in Europe and later President of the United States. The Cold War was the worldwide conflict between the western democracies and Communist states, particularly the USSR.