On This Day, Dec. 20, 2014 – NASA AMES Center Celebrates 75th Anniversary


2014 – NASA Ames Research Center marks its 75th Anniversary.

Ames Research Center (ARC), commonly known as NASA Ames, is a major NASA research center at Moffett Federal Airfield in California’s Silicon Valley. Named after Joseph Sweetman Ames and founded on December 20, 1939, as the second National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) laboratory, ARC became part of NASA in 1958 as part of the turnover from the dissolution of NACA, having (at the last estimate) over US$3 billion in capital equipment, 2,300 research personnel and a US$860 million annual budget.

Ames was founded to engage in wind-tunnel research on the aerodynamics of propeller-driven aircraft; however, its role has developed to encompass spaceflight and information technology. Ames plays a role in many of NASA missions in support of America’s space and aeronautics programs. It provides leadership in astrobiology; small satellites; robotic lunar exploration; the search for habitable planets; supercomputing; intelligent/adaptive systems; advanced thermal protection; and airborne astronomy. Ames also develops tools for a safer, more efficient national airspace and unique partnerships benefiting NASA’s mission. The center’s director is Dr. Simon P. “Pete” Worden (Brigadier General, USAF retired).

The organisation is mission center for several key current missions (Kepler, the Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission, Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph) and a major contributor to the “new exploration focus” as a participant in the Orion crew exploration vehicle.

This June 2, 1943 photograph shows the construction of the Ames full-scale 40- by 80-foot wind tunnel, with a side view of the entrance cone and a blimp in the background. Image Credit: NASA

1606 – The “Susan Constant,” “Godspeed” and “Discovery” set sail from London. Their landing at Jamestown, VA, was the start of the first permanent English settlement in America.

1699 – Peter the Great ordered that the Russian New Year be changed from September 1 to January 1.

1803 – The United States Senate ratified a treaty that included the Louisiana Territories from France for $15 million. The transfer was completed with formal ceremonies in New Orleans.

1820 – The state of Missouri enacted legislation to tax bachelors between the ages of 21-50 for being unmarried. The tax was $1 a year.

1860South Carolina became the first state to secede from the American Union.

1864 – Confederate forces evacuated Savannah, GA as Union Gen. William T. Sherman continued his “March to the Sea.”

1879 – Thomas A. Edison privately demonstrated his incandescent light at Menlo Park, NJ.

1892 – Alexander T. Brown and George Stillman patented the pneumatic tire.

1938 – Vladimir Kosma Zworykin patented the iconoscope television system.

1946 – The Frank Capra film “It’s A Wonderful Life” had a preview showing for charity at New York City’s Globe Theatre, a day before its “official” world premiere.

1946 – In Indochina (Vietnam), full-scale guerrilla warfare between Vietnam partisans and French troops began.

1954 – Buick Motor Company signed Jackie Gleason to one of the largest contracts ever entered into with an entertainer. Gleason agreed to produce 78 half-hour shows over a two-year period for $6,142,500.

1963 – The Berlin Wall was opened for the first time to West Berliners. It was only for the holiday season. It closed again on January 6, 1964.

1968 – Author John Steinbeck died at the age of 66.

1987 – More than 3,000 people were killed when the Dona Paz, a Philippine passenger ship, collided with the tanker Vector off Mindoro island, setting off a double explosion.a

1989 – General Noriega, Panama’s former dictator, was overthrown by a United States invasion force invited by the new civilian government. The project was known as Operation Just Cause.

1991 – Oliver Stone’s “JFK” opened in the U.S.

1994 – Marcelino Corniel, a homeless man, was shot and mortally wounded by White House security officers. He had brandished a knife near the executive mansion.

1994 – Ivan Lendl retired after a 17-year tennis career.

1995 – An American Airlines Boeing 757 en route to Cali, Colombia, crashed into a mountain, killing all but four of the 163 people aboard.a

1996 – Doctors reported that a Cypriot woman who had taken fertility drugs was carrying about 11 embryos.

1998 – In Houston, TX, a 27-year-old woman gave birth to the only known living set of octuplets.

1999 – The Vermont Supreme Court ruled that homosexual couples were entitled to the same benefits and protections as wedded couples of the opposite sex.

1999 – Sovereignty over the colony of Macao was transferred from Portugal to China.


Source: On-This-Day.com; Wikipedia.org