This Day in History: NASA Is Created July 29,1958. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was created as a means of keeping up with the space program of the former Soviet Union. The Soviet launch of the Sputnik satellites had surprised and embarrassed the United States. Americans were on edge that the Soviets would soon be capable of launching nuclear weapons. President John F. Kennedy announced the U.S. intention of landing a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s. NASA spearheaded the monumental task, and achieved that goal on July 20, 1969. NASA continues to push the edge of space exploration, landing rovers on Mars in the past decade.