NASA, acronym for National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the civil government agency responsible for the space program and aerospace research of the United States of America.
In its first ten years of activity, NASA built new centers for research and development and for the management of aerospace activities: the Goddard Space Flight Center, the Manned Spacecraft Center, the Kennedy Space Center and the Electronics Research Center.
After the Apollo Program for the exploration of the Moon, space activity has developed through the program of the US orbital station SkyLab, the launch of numerous exploration missions of the solar system with automatic probes and the exploitation of Earth’s orbital space with shuttles Space Shuttle and supporting the construction of the ISS (International Space Station).
The loss of two Space Shuttles with their crews and budget cuts have led the agency to set aside plans for new manned lunar explorations and for sending astronauts to Mars, whose exploration will continue to be delegated to robotic systems.
On September 14, 2011, it announced that it had selected the design for a new manned transport system, called the Space Launch System, intended to take the place of the Space Shuttles.