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NASA turns 50 today Scientific American

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was established 50 years ago today by the aptly named National Aeronautics and Space Act.
NASA began operations on October 1, 1958, with a staff of 80 spread among four laboratories. The agency now consists of 15 facilities that employed more than 17,000 people in 2006, according to Best Places to Work.
The agency’s mission statement since 2006 has been “to pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research.”