The vision statement of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is: "To reach for new heights and reveal the unknown so that what we do and learn will benefit all humankind." NASA was created by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1958 in response to the launch of Sputnik by the Soviet Union. The precursor to NASA was the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics created in 1946.
NASA's programs have included landing 12 men on the moon, launching more than 130 space shuttle missions, sending regular robotic missions to Mars and creating advanced telescopes to study the solar system and far-away objects. The agency began privatizing some space launches as a cost-saving measure.
The longest mission program of NASA was the space shuttle at more than 30 years. Newer programs include the next-generation Orion manned rockets and the James Webb Space Telescope. The goals of NASA include launching missions to the asteroid belt and eventually Mars by the 2030s.
In addition to space missions, NASA has been tasked with designing the Next Generation Air Transportation System, also known as NextGen, to be in place by 2025. The space agency continues to study the Earth with its fleet of Earth-observing satellites in orbit.