NASA has put people in unique and extreme environments for over six decades. Supporting these individuals with a comprehensive health-care system has evolved over this period. As the Apollo program ended and NASA began to contemplate a space shuttle and space station program, societal pressures in the late 1960s and early 1970s caused federal agencies such as NASA to reconsider how to link the needs of the space program with a growing pressure to address societal needs by forging interagency partnerships. The Space Technology Applied to the Rural Papago Health Care (STARPAHC) project provides an example of how NASA sought to balance these two imperatives in an age of diminishing federal support. This project can provide lessons for today's uncertain budgetary future for agencies such as NASA, which are once again being asked to find creative and innovative ways to support their missions while demonstrating their larger value to society.