Congress and the Early Exploration of Space
Concern over the Soviet Union’s technical achievement of launching the Sputnik space satellite in October 1957 led the United States Congress to respond. The House of Representatives established the Committee on Science and Astronautics on July 21, 1958, after the Select Committee on Astronautics and Space Exploration had drafted legislation creating the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Just three days after the House action, the Senate established the standing Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences. The records from the first decade of work by the committees reflect how each provided jurisdictional oversight to the development of NASA and other non-military space programs.
Photograph of Ham the Space Chimp After Orbiting the Earth, January 31, 1961
Image from Ranger VII, July 28, 1964
- Space Exploration Resources from the National Archives
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