Was NASA established before the nation that oversees it? The claim circulated via a November 2023 post on X (archived here) that presented the argument to support the baseless conspiracy theory that the earth is a flat disk, not a sphere.
With an alleged creation date before the U.S., under the pretense of the post, NASA was able to "keep the flat earth hidden from the public." At the time of this publication, the post had received nearly 12,000 views:
Wow. I have found a gem. I have to admit I hadn't heard this before. ?
— Erika (@ExploreCosmos_) November 28, 2023
The post provided no evidence to support its claim that NASA was older than the U.S. In reality, the Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776 — that is, when American colonists announced their intentions to create a nation independent from their former British rulers — nearly two centuries before the designation of NASA in 1958. Considering that timeline, we rated this claim "False."
Signed by the Continental Congress during the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the Declaration of Independence signaled to the world American colonists' goal of declaring themselves an independent nation. Then, when the war officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris on Sept. 3, 1783, U.S. independence was secured.
Before NASA, an organization called the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) lead the country's aeronautics research. It was founded in 1915, and all of its assets — including projects, research laboratories, and test facilities — were absorbed by NASA with its creation in 1958.
Such claims attempting to convince people of fictional stories about aerospace or history are part of the unproven, conspiratorial "Flat earth" movement. The Library of Congress has called it a “pseudoscientific theory.”
Snopes has debunked other flat-earth claims here.