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Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)

POC: Mablelene S Burrell

Applied Engineering and Technology Directorate:

POC: Danielle Margiotta

  • Advanced Manufacturing - facilitates the development, evaluation, and deployment of efficient and flexible additive manufacturing technologies. (ref:
  • Advanced Multi-functional Systems and Structures - novel approaches to increase spacecraft systems resource utilization
  • Micro - and Nanotechnology - Based Detector Systems - research and application of these technologies to increase the efficiency of detector and optical systems
  • Ultra-miniature Spaceflight Systems and Instruments - miniaturization approaches from multiple disciplines - materials, mechanical, electrical, software, and optical - to achieve substantial resource reductions
  • Systems Robust to Extreme Environments - materials and design approaches that will preserve designed system properties and operational parameters (e.g. mechanical, electrical, thermal), and enable reliable systems operations in hostile space environments.
  • Spacecraft Navigation Technologies
    • Spacecraft GNSS receivers, ranging crosslink transceivers, and relative navigation sensors
    • Optical navigation and satellite laser ranging
    • Deep-space autonomous navigation techniques
    • Software tools for spacecraft navigation ground operations and navigation analysis
    • Formation Flying
  • Automated Rendezvous and Docking (AR&D) techniques
    • Algorithm development
    • Pose estimation for satellite servicing missions
    • Sensors (e.g., LiDARs, natural feature recognition)
    • Actuation (e.g., micro propulsion, electromagnetic formation flying)
  • Mission and Trajectory Design Technologies
    • Mission design tools that will enable new mission classes (e.g., low thrust planetary missions, precision formation flying missions)
    • Mission design tools that reduce the costs and risks of current mission design methodologies
    • Trajectory design techniques that enable integrated optimal designs across multiple orbital dynamic regimes (i.e. earth orbiting, earth-moon libration point, sun-earth libration point, interplanetary)
  • Spacecraft Attitude Determination and Control Technologies
    • Modeling, simulation, and advanced estimation algorithms
    • Advanced spacecraft attitude sensor technologies (e.g., MEMS IMU’s, precision optical trackers)
    • Advanced spacecraft actuator technologies (e.g. modular and scalable momentum control devices, ‘green’ propulsion, micropropulsion, low power electric propulsion)
  • CubeSats - Participating institutions will develop CubeSat/Smallsat components, technologies and systems to support NASA technology demonstration and risk reduction efforts. Student teams will develop miniature CubeSat/Smallsat systems for: power generation and distribution, navigation, communication, on-board computing, structures (fixed and deployable), orbital stabilization, pointing, and de-orbiting. These components, technologies and systems shall be made available for use by NASA for integration into NASA Cubesat/Smallsats. They may be integrated into complete off-the-shelf “CubeSat/Smallsat bus” systems, with a goal of minimizing “bus” weight/power/volume/cost and maximizing available “payload” weight/power/volume. NASA technologists will then use these components/systems to develop payloads that demonstrate key technologies to prove concepts and/or reduce risks for future Earth Science, Space Science and Exploration/Robotic Servicing missions. POC: Thomas P. Flatley (
  • On-Orbit Multicore Computing - High performance multicore processing for advanced automation and science data processing on spacecraft. There are multiple multicore processing platforms in development that are being targeted for the next generation of science and exploration missions, but there is little work in the area of software frameworks and architectures to utilize these platforms. It is proposed that research in the areas of efficient inter-core communications, software partitioning, fault detection, isolation & recovery, memory management, core power management, scheduling algorithms, and software frameworks be done to enable a transition to these newer platforms. Participating institutions can select areas to research and work with NASA technologists to develop and prototype the resulting concepts. POC: Charles P Wildermann (
  • Integrated Photonic components and systems - Integrated photonic components and systems for Sensors, Spectrometers, Chemical/biological sensors, Microwave, Sub-millimeter and Long-Wave Infra-Red photonics, Telecom- inter and intra satellite communications.
  • Radiation Effects and Analysis
    • Flight validation of advanced event rate prediction techniques
    • New approaches for testing and evaluating 3-D integrated microcircuits and other advanced microelectronic devices
    • End-to-end system (e.g., integrated component level or higher) modeling of radiation effects
    • Statistical approaches to tackle radiation hardness assurance (i.e., total dose, displacement damage, and/or single-event effects) for high-risk, low-cost missions.

Sciences and Exploration Directorate:

POC: Blanche Meeson

The Sciences and Exploration Directorate at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center ( is the largest Earth and space science research organization in the world. Its scientists advance understanding of the Earth and its life-sustaining environment, the Sun, the solar system, and the wider universe beyond. All are engaged in the full life cycle of satellite missions and instruments from concept development to implementation, analysis and application of the scientific information, and community access and services.

  • The Earth Sciences Division plans, organizes, evaluates, and implements a broad program of research on our planet's natural systems and processes. Major focus areas include climate change, severe weather, the atmosphere, the oceans, sea ice and glaciers, and the land surface. To study the planet from the unique perspective of space, the Earth Science Division develops and operates remote-sensing satellites and instruments. We analyze observational data from these spacecraft and make it available to the world's scientists and policy makers. The Division conducts extensive field campaigns to gather data from the surface and airborne platforms. The Division also develops, uses, and assimilates observations into models that simulate planetary processes involving the water, energy, and carbon cycles at multiple scales up to global. POC: Eric Brown de Colstoun ( ).
  • The Astrophysics Science Division conducts a broad program of research in astronomy, astrophysics, and fundamental physics. Individual investigations address issues such as the nature of dark matter and dark energy, which planets outside our solar system may harbor life, and the nature of space, time, and matter at the edges of black holes. Observing photons, particles, and gravitational waves enables researchers to probe astrophysical objects and processes. Researchers develop theoretical models, design experiments and hardware to test theories, and interpret and evaluate observational data. POC: Padi Boyd (
  • The Heliophysics Science Division conducts research on the Sun, its extended solar-system environment (the heliosphere), and interactions of Earth, other planets, small bodies, and interstellar gas with the heliosphere. Division research also encompasses Geospace, Earth's magnetosphere and its outer atmosphere, and Space Weather—the important effects that heliospheric disturbances have on spacecraft and terrestrial systems. Division scientists develop spacecraft missions and instruments, systems to manage and disseminate heliophysical data, and theoretical and computational models to interpret the data. Possible heliophysics-related research include: advanced software environments and data-mining strategies to collect, collate and analyze data relevant to the Sun and its effects on the solar system and the Earth (“space weather”); and advanced computational techniques, including but not limited to parallel architectures and the effective use of graphics processing units, for the simulation of magnetized and highly dynamic plasmas and neutral gases in the heliosphere. POC: Doug Rabin (
  • The Solar System Exploration Division builds science instruments and conducts theoretical and experimental research to explore the solar system and understand the formation and evolution of planetary systems. Laboratories within the division investigate areas as diverse as astrochemistry, planetary atmospheres, extrasolar planetary systems, earth science, planetary geodynamics, space geodesy, and comparative planetary studies. To study how planetary systems form and evolve, division scientists develop theoretical models as well as the investigations and space instruments to test them. The researchers participate in planetary and Earth science missions, and collect, interpret, and evaluate measurements. POC: Lora Bleacher (

Scientists in all four divisions publish research results in the peer-reviewed literature, participate in the archiving and pubic dissemination of scientific data, and provide expert user support.

Education efforts in all science divisions seek to develop interest in and understanding of the science at GSFC by K-12 educators and students and the development of future scientist and computer scientists at the undergraduate and graduate level.

Outreach efforts in all four science divisions raise public awareness of the projects and missions in which we are involved, the research we conduct, and the associated benefits to society.