The Astros were established as the Houston Colt .45s and entered the National League as an expansion team in 1962 along with the New York Mets. The current name, reflecting Houston's role as the host of the Johnson Space Center, was adopted three years later, when they moved into the Astrodome, the first domed sports stadium and the so-called "Eighth Wonder of the World." The Astros moved to a new stadium called Minute Maid Park in 2000.
The Astros played in the NL West division from 1969 to 1993, then the NL Central division from 1994 to 2012, before being moved to the AL West as part of a minor realignment in 2013.
The Astros posted their first winning record in 1972 and made the playoffs for the first time in 1980. The Astros made their first World Series appearance in 2005 but were swept by the AL Chicago White Sox. In the following decade, the team embraced sabermetrics and pioneered new analytical technologies during the early 2010s, transforming from a franchise that lost more than 100 games in three consecutive seasons into a star-studded superteam that won over 100 games in three straight seasons. The Astros won the 2017 World Series, their first championship, against the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Having been defeated by Boston the following year in the 2018 ALCS, the Astros returned to the World Series in 2019, losing to the Washington Nationals in seven games despite putting together a franchise-best regular season.
On January 13, 2020, Astros manager A. J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were suspended by MLB for one year after an investigation confirmed sign stealing by the Astros during their 2017 World Series campaign; both men were fired by the team shortly thereafter. Dusty Baker was announced as the new manager, and James Click as the new general manager, on January 29 and February 3, 2020, respectively. During the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, the Astros again qualified for the playoffs (this time with a losing record), making a run for their fourth consecutive American League Championship Series appearance after having beaten the Minnesota Twins and division rival Oakland Athletics. However, despite becoming just the second team in the history of baseball to rebound from an 0–3 series deficit, the Astros ultimately fell to the Tampa Bay Rays after seven historically tight games in the ALCS.