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Life at NASA

NASA explores the unknown in air and space, innovates for the benefit of humanity, and inspires the world through discovery.  We share a set of core values—safety, integrity, teamwork, excellence, inclusion—and they are evident in all that we do.

Our people are key to our success.

At NASA, this means ensuring a healthy culture for our teammates. This starts with the trust and connection our leadership builds with their teams. We continue to grow and engage our highly dedicated and diverse workforce with a focus on equity and inclusion. NASA employs a robust strategy to ensure diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility are incorporated into our culture and business practices at all levels.

Mission and Values

Mission: NASA explores the unknown in air and space, innovates for the benefit of humanity, and inspires the world through discovery.  

Core Values: We share a set of core values—safety, integrity, teamwork, excellence, inclusion—and they are evident in all that we do. 

The key to our success is our people. Our more than 18,000 professionals come from many diverse backgrounds, but are united by a common purpose. In addition to our core values, our NASA team embodies a few shared characteristics that are integral to our success: 

  • Curiosity: We’re continually asking questions and seeking answers.
  • Team-oriented: We come together as one to solve complex issues. Innovation is a staple, teamwork is a must and everyone’s opinion counts. 
  • Excellence: We’re continuously striving to be better and know more. We pursue excellence in both the ordinary and the extraordinary. 
  • Passion for Exploration: We are constantly embarking on a range of adventures to better understand our planet, the solar system and beyond. 
  • Agility: We are comfortable and flexible working in ambiguous environments. We embrace change and are ready to grow and adapt to what the future may bring. 
  • Resilience: When we put our minds to something—we don’t give up.  


We offer fantastic benefits to engage our employees both in and out of the office. For a comprehensive list of benefits for federal workers, visit the Office of Personnel Management’s website

Health & Insurance

As a NASA employee, you may be eligible to enroll in health, dental, vision and life insurance programs as well as flexible spending accounts. Generally, you share the cost of your health and life insurance premiums with the government. The NASA Employees Benefit Association (NEBA) also provides low cost, high quality life insurance and voluntary benefits for NASA employees. 

Compensation & Recognition

In addition to the benefits package, you will receive a competitive salary with a comprehensive retirement plan. We reward outstanding achievement, innovation and performance via monetary and non-monetary awards and recognition. NASA employees are also eligible for: 

  • Free or subsidized parking and transit assistance
  • Membership in various Federal Credit unions 
  • Scholarship programs for NASA dependents 

Career & Development

We offer leadership and personal development opportunities, career counseling, coaching, mentoring, tuition assistance, extensive onsite training, and other educational programs to ensure you continue to grow and expand your knowledge and skills. You’ll also have the opportunity to take on new roles across the agency—when filling many positions, NASA considers current employees first—or take on roles with more managerial responsibility. 

Life & Family

We’re committed to providing flexibility to focus on what matters most—both at work and at home. We offer work-life programs such as hybrid work, flexible work hours, telecommuting options, 10 paid holidays, parental leave and a generous leave program to help you achieve the balance that works for you. For full-time employees, annual leave is accrued at the following rate: 

  • Less than 3 years of federal service: 13 days per year 
  • 3-14 years: 20 days per year 
  • 15+ years: 26 days per year 

Full-time employees earn 4 hours of sick leave for each two week pay period and 10 paid federal holidays per year. Other benefits: 

  • Active Employee Resource Groups 
  • Employee Assistance Program for mental health and wellness support.
  • Many NASA locations offer onsite or nearby childcare facilities. 

For a more comprehensive list of benefits for federal workers, visit the Office of Personnel Management’s website

A Focus on Project Management 

At NASA, much of how we work, and even how we are organized, is centered around projects. Project management has been a core element of NASA since its inception. Today, NASA is considered a leader in program and project management practices. Our diverse set of engineering, science and space exploration missions require long-term planning and coordination among multiple stakeholder groups, programs and project offices. As our missions become increasingly international and collaborative, we will continue to rely on project management expertise and programmatic oversight skills to ensure continued success on complex projects.  

In 2009, the Project Management Institute recognized NASA for 40 years of shared project management success. Through NASA’s Academy of Program/Project and Engineering Leadership, or APPEL, the agency has collaborated with PMI on research and educational efforts, including project management certification. NASA has also participated as a member of PMI’s Global Corporate Council, a group of project-based organizations committed to improving performance on complex projects. 

Internally, we have introduced the Project Management and Excellence (PMEA) Award to recognize outstanding PPM performance at the agency. It celebrates two aspects of PPM performance: application of PPM best practices and processes and innovative approaches that advance PPM concepts and techniques. Learn more about project management resources at NASA.  


Guiding Principles for Federal Hiring 

The Merit System Principles are nine basic standards that serve as the foundation of the federal civil service to promote fairness and protect both the interest of federal employees and the public. The nine basic standards are: 

  • Recruitment, Selection and Advancement:  Recruit a diverse pool of applicants; hold fair and open competition; and select the best-qualified applicants. 
  • Equity:  Treat employees and applicants fairly and equitably. Respect employee’s privacy and constitutional rights. 
  • Compensation:  Pay employees fairly and recognize and reward performance. 
  • Conduct:  Hold employees to high standards and put the public interest first. 
  • Utilization:  Use the workforce efficiently and effectively. 
  • Retention:  Retain employees based on performance and address poor performance. 
  • Employee Training and Development:  Provide employees with training and development. 
  • Neutrality:  Protect employees against arbitrary actions, favoritism and political coercion. 
  • Public Interest:  Protect employees against reprisal for whistleblowing or exercising a right. 

Learn more about the Merit System Principles

Diversity Drives Innovation 

We’re a diverse team united by a shared purpose. We’re committed to building a workforce that reflects the diversity of the American people. To be successful in our efforts to explore the universe, we must recruit, hire and retain the most talented and promising individuals, from all backgrounds and life experiences.  

Learn More about Diversity Drives Innovation 
group photo of JSC employees around earth sculpture