Retired NASA astronaut and Navy captain Mark Kelly, speaking at DNC and introducing wife, former Rep. Gabby Giffords: 'If you want our legacy to be that we left our kids and grandkids a country with less gun violence, not more, then we need to make Hillary our president'
Photo: An Orthodox priest sprinkles holy water on members of the media after blessing a Soyuz rocket bound for the International Space Station, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome Launch pad in Kazakhstan; astronauts Kate Rubins of NASA, Anatoly Ivanishin of Roscosmos and Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will launch at 9:36 pm ET - NASA HQ Photo
Editor's note: More: In order to enter Jupiter's orbit, NASA's Juno spacecraft will burn its main engine for 35 minutes to slow down. If the engine fails, the craft could fly right past Jupiter and end up in an orbit around the sun. Because of a 48-minute delay for signals from Jupiter to reach Earth, mission control won't be able to intervene if something goes awry. - Andrew
Editor's note: NASA's Juno spacecraft is currently attempting to maneuver itself into Jupiter's orbit by slowing down from 150,000 miles per hour after traveling for 5 years and 1.8 billion miles. The spacecraft launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Aug. 5, 2011. - Andrew
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an independent agency of the executive branch of the United States federal government responsible for the civilian space program as well as aeronautics and aerospace research.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower established NASA in 1958 with a distinctly civilian (rather than military) orientation encouraging peaceful applications in space science. The National Aeronautics and Space Act was passed on July 29, 1958, disestablishing NASA's predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The new agency became operational on October 1, 1958.
Since that time, 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. Currently, NASA is supporting the International Space Station and is overseeing the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, the Space Launch System and Commercial Crew vehicles. The agency is also responsible for the Launch Services Program (LSP) which provides oversight of launch operations and countdown management for unmanned NASA launches.
NASA science is focused on better understanding Earth through the Earth Observing System, advancing heliophysics through the efforts of the Science Mission Directorate's Heliophysics Research Program, exploring bodies throughout the Solar System with advanced robotic spacecraft missions such as New Horizons, and researching astrophysics topics, such as the Big Bang, through the Great Observatories and associated programs. NASA shares data with various national and international organizations such as from the Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite.