The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an organisation established in USA in 1958, partially in response to the Soviet Union's launch of the first artificial satellite. NASA grew out of the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics, which had been researching flight technology for more than 40 years.
The initial target for NASA was to send astronauts to the moon by the end of the 1960s. After Apollo, NASA focused on developing America's ready access to space: the space shuttle. In 2000, the United States and Russia established permanent human presence in space aboard the international space station.
At the same time, NASA continued the aeronautics research pioneered by NACA. It also conducted purely scientific research and worked on developing applications for space technology, combining both pursuits in developing the first weather and communications satellites.
NASA conducts its work in four principle organizations, called mission directorates:
Aeronautics: pioneering and proving new flight technologies that improve our ability to explore and which have practical applications on Earth.
Exploration Systems: creating new capabilities for affordable, sustainable human and robotic exploration
Science: exploring the Earth, moon, Mars and beyond; charting the best route of discovery; and reaping the benefits of Earth and space exploration for society.
Space Operations: providing critical enabling technologies for much of the rest of NASA through the space shuttle, the international space station and flight support.
NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) works to enhance the state of aeronautics in USA. It conducts fundamental research in traditional aeronautical disciplines and emerging fields to help transform the US air transportation system, and to support future air and space vehicles.
ARMD addresses research challenges that must be overcome in order to create the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). It seeks to find solutions for increasing the capacity, efficiency, and flexibility of national air space. At the same time, it conducts research to help address substantial noise, emissions, efficiency, performance, and safety challenges that must be met in order to design vehicles that can support NextGen.
Refer to the NASA website