published during a waning crescent moon.
1. This IBM electronic data processing machine crunched numbers at NASA’s Langley Research Center. The facility was home to the world’s first full-scale wind tunnel, and shafts such as these recreated realistic flight effects for testing aircrafts’ capabilities in an array of flight conditions. The picture was taken in 1957, when NASA was still dubbed NACA, or the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics.
2. NACA actually hired women as human “computers” to slog through and compute data in the mid-30s. Pictured here is Melba Roy, who led NASA’s mathematicians, in 1964. Roy helped track the first ever communications satellites named Echo I and II, a duo of massive spherical balloons.
3. This image from 1950 features a pressure wind tunnel at the Langley Aeronautical Laboratory, During wind tunnel tests, the vanes in the eclipse — which was over 30 feet high and almost 50 feet wide — helped force air to turn corners smoothly instead of coalescing along the curves.
4. As the father of modern rocket propulsion, Dr. Robert H. Goddard was as influential to space travel as the Wright brothers were to flight. Though his work wasn’t initially taken seriously, NASA went on to name the Goddard Space Flight Center after him. Here he is pictured at Clark University in the early ’20s.
5. One of the laboratory’s heads, Fred E. Weick, sits in the back of a plane in 1927. In the front is famed American aviator Charles Lindbergh, who was the first to fly alone nonstop across the Atlantic Ocean. Standing is Tom Hamilton, a pioneer pilot who helped revolutionize propeller technology and shape the aviation industry today.
6. NASA introduced its first astronaut class in 1959. Front row, from left to right: Walter M. Schirra, Jr., Donald K. “Deke” Slayton, John H. Glenn, Jr., and M. Scott Carpenter. Back row: Alan B. Shepard, Jr., Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, and L. Gordon Cooper, Jr.
7. A researcher tests how an Apollo capsule would land in sand in a multiple exposure shot from 1961.
8. Here you can see astronauts, including first man on the moon Neil Armstrong (second from left), during desert survival training in 1964 in Reno, Nevada. The other trainees, from left to right: Astronauts Frank Borman, John Young and Deke Slayton.
9. The insides of the Kennedy Space Flight Center buzzed with activity before the launch of Apollo 11 back in 1969.
10. The crew of Apollo 11 — Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin — are welcomed back in a New York City parade. The crew hauled back almost 50 pounds of lunar odds and ends for analysis.
11. The Apollo 16 mission was the fifth to carry men to the moon, landing in a previous uncharted area known as the Descartes highlands. Here the crew preps for landing on the moon. From left to right: pilot Charles M. Duke, commander John W. Young, and pilot Thomas K. Mattingly II.
12. Here you can see the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) in action. The LRV helped astronaut and Apollo 15 mission commander David R. Scott chug along the moon’s surface in 1971.
13. To get used to zero gravity, cadets ride aboard the “vomit comet,” an aircraft that flies in a specific pattern that creates 30 seconds of weightlessness over and over. Pictured in 1979 are astronaut Guion S. Bluford, the first African-American to blast into space, and aviation safety officer Charles F. Hayes.
14. Another simulator is the EVA (Extra Vehicular Activity) exercise device, pictured here in the early ‘90s. The machine monitored weightlessness effects on astronauts during long flights.
15. The Space Shuttle Columbia arrives at the Kennedy Space Flight Center atop an aircraft carrier in 1990.
For even more pictures, check out NASA on the Commons on Flickr.