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1 October 1958 marks the official start of the National Aeronautics Space Administration, better known as NASA.
After the Soviets launched the Sputnik 1 on 4 October 1957, the US was very alarmed. They hadn't made the same progress and considered it a threat to its national security.
Until then the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) had been developing various kinds of rocket technology.
To make faster progress, the US government refocused its efforts which led to the creation of ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency) and NASA.
ARPA would cover the military applications, while NASA would focus on the non-military purposes.
The agency absorbed NACA. It started out with 8,0000 employees, and annual budget of $100 million and thee major research alborotories.
Since it founding in 1958 almost all US space exploration had been led by NASA.