NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WVEC) -- NASA Langley Research Center is celebrating its 100th anniversary, and on Thursday night, a Centennial Tribute was held at Christopher Newport University's Ferguson Center for the Arts.

Nationally recognized aviation and space journalist Miles O'Brien was Master of Ceremonies, while the event featured special guests including former astronaut and Langley alumnus Leland Melvin, Nashville singer-songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman, the U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Concert Band, local musician Karl Werne and dancers from Radford University in Radford, Virginia.

Founded as the nation's first civilian aeronautical research facility, Langley is NASA's original field center.

The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics -- NASA's precursor -- broke ground on its first laboratory at Langley on July 17, 1917.

NASA says that in the century since then, Langley's employees have been pioneers and innovators of aerospace and science research and development, expanding horizons, opening the frontiers of exploration and providing game-changing innovations across all of NASA's missions.

More events are planned through the year to celebrate Langley's Centennial Tribute.

PHOTOS: NASA Langley Centennial Tribute at CNU