NEW ORLEANS — Visitors were invited to enjoy activities and displays commemorating NASA’s 60th anniversary at INFINITY Science Center on Saturday.
Then-President Dwight Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act to establish NASA on July 29, 1958. The new agency officially began operations on Oct. 1, 1958. Since that time, it has led a national space program that has benefited all areas of daily life and transformed human understanding of the universe.
NASA’s first space program, Project Mercury, featured numerous uncrewed space flights and six crewed missions that featured the first American to launch into space and the first American to orbit Earth. Project Gemini followed with 10 crewed missions focused on developing and perfecting capabilities needed to enable missions to the Moon.
The Apollo Program built on those capabilities to launch six successful missions that landed a total of 12 astronauts on the Moon in the late 1960s and early 1970s. NASA then built the reusable space shuttle, which flew on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The agency now is building the Space Launch System rocket to return humans to deep space missions, to the Moon and eventually to Mars.
Those 60 years of history and achievement was marked with an anniversary exhibit, NASA mementos and several hands-on activities at INFINITY.
INFINITY is open Monday through Saturday. Admission is $18 for adults and $11 for children ages 4-13, with discounts available for military, senior citizens and groups.