Technical Facilities and Capabilities
The Exploration Technology Directorate supports many NASA missions and programs as well as commercial partners through its world-class facilities and capabilities. The Exploration Technology Directorate maintains and provides these facilities and capabilities through a combined civil service and contract staff of more than 900 skilled people, to be world-class leaders in these areas.
NASA Advanced Supercomputing Facility
Provides high-end computing resources and services to enable scientists and engineers to effectively use large-scale modeling, simulation, machine learning, and data analysis to advance NASA missions.
NASA Arc Jet Complex
The Ames Arc Jet Complex is the Agency’s primary ground test platform for long duration simulation of the environments and forces experienced by spacecraft during hypersonic entry in planetary atmospheres. The Complex is critical for supporting the development, testing, and evaluation of spacecraft thermal protection systems.
The Ames Ballistic Range Complex provides critical testing support to the Nation’s research and development activities in hypervelocity aerodynamics and impact physics.
Electric Arc Shock Tube
The Ames Electric Arc Shock Tube is the only shock tube in the U.S. capable of simulating shock-heated gas environments at very high enthalpies to investigate shockwave radiation encountered by atmospheric entry vehicles.
Aeronautics Concepts Research and Development
Innovative intelligent systems research is supporting development and assessment of revolutionary new aerospace concepts and technologies that will help shape the future of the industry, transforming and enhancing global civil aviation.
Autonomy and Robotics
Future space exploration missions require complex vehicles, planetary and space exploration platforms and habitats, operations, and robotic and autonomous assistants that adapt to complex, rapidly changing conditions, knowledge, and constraints. They also strive to increase performance, productivity, efficiency, improve science return, enhance safety, and reduce cost for these missions.
Information and Software Technologies
Providing leadership in computational sciences for NASA applications, including software research and development for autonomy, robotics, decision-making tools, quantum computing approaches, and software reliability and robustness, as well as software systems for data mining, analysis, integration, and management; ground and flight; integrated health management; systems safety; and mission assurance.
Entry Systems are the complete package of rigid heat shields, inflatable aerodynamic decelerators, and mechanical deployables needed for a vehicle to successfully transition from space to operations in the atmospheres or on the lands of planetary bodies.
Human Performance Assessment
Human factors research and technologies enhance health, productivity, and safety in aerospace environments. Development of advanced interfaces, human performance models, monitoring tools, and countermeasures support optimum human-systems performance.
Human-Computer-Interaction Capability focuses on development of human-centered design and operations of complex aerospace systems. The approach enables deployment and integration of mission software with appropriate functionality and user interfaces that support effectiveness and efficiency of operations by scientists and engineers on some of NASA’s largest programs.
Modeling & Simulation
Innovative large-scale modeling and simulation technologies and expertise critical to solving science and engineering challenges for sustainable aviation, human space exploration, and study of our solar system and the universe.
Human Systems Integration
Entry Systems and Technology