NASA’s role in aeronautics research began through the work of an earlier organization created just after the start of World War I.
In 1915, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) was formed to help the United States learn everything it could, as fast as it could, about the science of flight. During the next 40 years, NACA research contributed to the design of every American aircraft of the time—commercial and military. In 1958, NACA was replaced by NASA, and the new agency inherited a legacy of aeronautics research that had already contributed significantly to making flight safer and more efficient.
Today, NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) works to enhance the state of aeronautics for our nation. We conduct cutting-edge, fundamental research in traditional aeronautical disciplines and emerging fields to help transform our nation’s 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). Our work will help find solutions for increasing the capacity, efficiency, and flexibility of our national air space. At the same time, we conduct 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.
And, as NASA looks to future challenges in space exploration, we work to greatly advance our fundamental understanding of key aeronautics disciplines to make it possible to safely fly through any atmosphere — our own or that of another planet.
Source: NASA ARMD: About Us