The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an agency of the United States Government, responsible for that nation's public space program. Established on July 29, 1958 by the National Aeronautics and Space Act, its annual funding for Fiscal Year 2007 (FY2007) amounts to US$16.2 billion. NASA is widely regarded as being in the forefront of space agencies worldwide.
In addition to the space program, it is also responsible for long-term civilian and military aerospace research. Since February 2006 NASA's self-described mission statement is to "pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery, and aeronautics research."
Its motto is per aspera ad astra, Latin for "through hardships to the stars."