Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

In 1915, President Wilson created The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) to assist in the development of aeronautical advances. NACA was responsible for early flight technological developments, like high altitude superchargers and airfoils. NACA worked with all branches of the military including the US Navy. In 1947, Douglas test pilot Gene Francis May, in a joint NACA/US Navy venture, flew the Douglas D-558-I Skystreak research aircraft for its first flight at Muroc Army Airfield. In 1957, a special committee was formed to develop a plan for space flight as an answer to Russian Sputnik flights. In 1958, James Killian wrote a letter to president Eisenhower to sanction the creation of the National Aeronautical Space Administration (NASA). On 1 October 1958, NACA was dissolved and became what is now NASA.