Program Introduction

The NASA Ames Academy is a unique summer institute of higher learning whose goal is to help guide future leaders of the U.S.Space Program by giving them a glimpse of how the whole system works. The success of the Space Program results from the interaction of government, academia, and the private sector, each playing a critical and different role in the 49-year-old civil program. Responsibilities overlap, leaders migrate from one sector to another and interdependence changes with each new administration.

NASA's Charter, written in the 1958 Space Act, gives NASA the main role of using and exploring space for the betterment of humankind. Congress and the President have both supported and restrained NASA as its programs have evolved. President John F. Kennedy's vision of putting a man on the Moon within the decade included much more than the Apollo spectacular of newspaper fame. After Apollo's success, NASA has constantly sought to redefine its goals and finetune its schedule every year seeking a budget to match its imagination. We have explored most of the planets, measured the solar system, flown humans in long term endurance missions and short term operational missions, invented new technology and trained Congress,teachers, students, business people, and engineers, developing a whole new generation familiar with the expertise of the "Space Age."