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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research.

It was established in 1958, succeeding in the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA).

The new agency was to have a distinctly civilian orientation, encouraging peaceful applications in space science.

Since its establishment, most US space exploration efforts have been led by NASA, including the Apollo Moon landing missions, the Skylab space station, and later the Space Shuttle.