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Ames Research Center Overview
December 5, 2012

aerial photograph of NASA's Ames Research Center An aerial view of NASA's Ames Research Center.

a collage of Ames' work in aeronautics Ames' Aeronautics Directorate comprises aviation systems, flight vehicle research and technology, wind tunnels, advanced aircraft projects, and aeronautics projects divisions.

art representing astrobiology Space science, Earth science, biological science, astrobiology and lunar science research are conducted in the Science Directorate.

Advanced supercomputing, intelligent systems, human systems integration, entry systems and technology are the divisions in the Exploration Technology Directorate.

Kepler mission For a list of future, current and past Ames missions, visit the Ames missions page.

All images credit: NASA
Ames Research Center, one of 10 NASA field Centers, is located in the heart of California's Silicon Valley. For over 60 years, Ames has led NASA in conducting world-class research and development. With 2500 employees and an annual budget of $860 million, Ames provides NASA with advancements in:

  • entry, descent and landing technologies,
  • information technology,
  • next-generation aviation improvements,
  • astrobiology,
  • airborne sciences and
  • small satellite programs

Location: California's Silicon Valley, 40 miles south of San Francisco; 12 miles north of San Jose, between Mountain View and Sunnyvale
Jobs: 2,500 employees
Economic impact: $1.5 billion annually for the U.S.; $1.1B for California; and $992M for San Francisco Bay Area creating over 8,484 jobs in the U.S. with 5,946 in California and 5,344 in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Budget: $857M
Established: December 20, 1939 as part of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), in 1958 absorbed into the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Ames' Key Goals

  • Maintain expertise in information technology, aerospace and aeronautics research and engineering.
  • Conduct research in space, Earth, lunar and biological sciences.
  • Develop lead status for NASA in small spacecraft missions.
  • Expand public and private partnerships.
  • Contribute innovative, high performance and reliable exploration technologies.

Areas of Ames Ingenuity:
Entry systems: Safely delivering spacecraft to Earth & other celestial bodies
Supercomputing: Enabling NASA's advanced modeling and simulation
NextGen air transportation: Transforming the way we fly
Airborne science: Examining our own world & beyond from the sky
Low-cost missions: Enabling high value science to low Earth orbit & the moon
Biology & astrobiology: Understanding life on Earth - and in space
Exoplanets: Finding worlds beyond our own
Autonomy & robotics: Complementing humans in space
Lunar science: Rediscovering our moon
Human factors: Advancing human-technology interaction for NASA missions
Wind tunnels: Testing on the ground before you take to the sky

› Read about Ames Center Director Pete Worden

Worden has also put Ames on the critical path for all major NASA space exploration missions through effective use of the center's unique wind tunnels, arc jets, intelligent systems and supercomputer facilities and capabilities. Worden's 'GreenSpace' initiative has brought Ames' remote sensing capabilities to bear on air traffic safety, fighting forest fires, and the study of climate change. And Ames' new Sustainability Base facility will serve as a model for future eco-friendly, high-performance federal buildings. In recognition of these outstanding achievements, Worden was named the Federal Laboratory Consortium's Laboratory Director of the Year for 2009. Prior to becoming Ames' director, Worden was a Research Professor of Astronomy, Optical Sciences and Planetary Sciences at the University of Arizona where his primary research direction was the development of large space optics for national security and scientific purposes and near-earth asteroids. Additionally, he worked on topics related to space exploration and solar-type activity in nearby stars. He is a recognized expert on space issues - both civil and military. He has authored or co-authored more than 150 scientific technical papers in astrophysics, space sciences, and strategic studies. Moreover, he served as a scientific co-investigator for two NASA space science missions. In addition to his former position with the University of Arizona, Worden previously served as a consultant to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) on space-related issues. In 2004, he worked as a Congressional Fellow and chief advisor to the Chairman of the US Senate Subcommittee on Science and Space regarding NASA and space issues. Worden retired in 2004 after 29 years of active service in the United States Air Force. His final position was Director of Development and Transformation, Space and Missile Systems Center, Air Force Space Command, Los Angeles Air Force Base, CA. -> For more, visit the websites of various organizations within Ames: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/ames/about/organizations.html

To see a list of Ames missions, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/ames/missions/index.html

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Page Last Updated: June 19th, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Administrator