The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is broken down into five Mission Directorates. Aeronautics, Exploration Systems, Science, Space Operations, and Space Technology.
For more than a century, NASA and its predecessor organization has been the global leader in aviation research.
Results achieved by NASA’s aeronautical innovators through the years directly benefits today’s air transportation system, the aviation industry, and the passengers and businesses who rely on those advances in flight every day. As a result, today every U.S. commercial aircraft and U.S. air traffic control tower uses NASA-developed technology to improve efficiency and maintain safety. That’s why we say “NASA is with you when you fly!” Yet there still is so much more to explore, so much more to learn. Scientists, engineers, programmers, test pilots, facilities managers, strategic planners, and people with many other skills are focused on transforming aviation to make it more sustainable and more accessible than ever before.
The Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate defines and manages systems development for programs critical to the NASA’s Artemis program and planning for NASA’s Moon to Mars exploration approach in an integrated manner.
ESDMD manages the human exploration system development for lunar orbital, lunar surface, and Mars exploration. ESDMD leads the human aspects of the Artemis activities as well as the integration of science into the human system elements. ESDMD is responsible for development of the lunar and Mars architectures. Programs in the mission directorate include Orion, Space Launch System, Exploration Ground Systems, Gateway, Human Landing System, and Extravehicular Activity (xEVA) and Human Surface Mobility.
The Mission Support Directorate (MSD) enables NASA mission success.
We provide the tools, people, and capabilities to ensure NASA leadership in aerospace, science, and exploration. From the legal and procurement teams who secure vital contracts and acquisitions to the infrastructure management teams who oversee NASA facilities, roadways, and utilities.
The Science Mission Directorate is an organization where discoveries in one scientific discipline have a direct route to other areas of study. This flow is something extremely valuable and is rare in the scientific world.
The Office of the Associate Administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate is responsible for directing and overseeing the nation’s space research program in Earth and space science. The Directorate engages the external and internal science community to define and prioritize science questions and seeks to expand the frontiers of five broad scientific pursuits: Earth Science, Planetary Science, Biological and Physical Sciences, Heliophysics, and Astrophysics.
NASA’s Space Operations Mission Directorate is responsible for enabling sustained human exploration missions and operations in our solar system.
Space Operations manages NASA’s current and future space operations in and beyond low Earth orbit, including commercial launch services to the International Space Station. SOMD operates and maintains exploration systems, develops and operates space transportation systems, and performs broad scientific research on orbit. In addition, SOMD is responsible for managing the space transportation services for NASA and NASA-sponsored payloads that require orbital launch, and the agency’s space communications and navigation services supporting all NASA’s space systems currently in orbit.
Technology drives exploration to the Moon, Mars and beyond.
As NASA embarks on its next era of exploration, STMD is focused on advancing technologies and testing new capabilities at the Moon that will be critical for crewed missions to Mars. In many ways, the Moon will serve as a technology testbed and proving ground for Mars. STMD engages and inspires thousands of entrepreneurs, researchers and innovators, creating a community of America’s best and brightest working on the nation’s toughest challenges. Space technology research and development take place at NASA centers, universities and national labs. STMD leverages partnerships with other government agencies as well as commercial and international partners. Our current technology portfolio spans a range of discipline areas and technology readiness levels. For the latest opportunities to work with STMD, see our current and upcoming solicitations. Investments in revolutionary, American-made space technologies provide solutions on Earth and in space. NASA technology turns up in nearly every corner of modern life. We make our space tech available to commercial companies to generate real world benefits – everything from creating jobs to saving lives. Learn more about NASA technology transfer.
Detail shot of the On-orbit Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing 1 (OSAM-1) autocapture test bed during a test of the Robotic Servicing Arm inside the Robotic Operations Center (ROC) at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, on Feb 23, 2023. These tests are critical to developing docking algorithms and procedures for in-space servicing, assembly, and manufacturing (ISAM) missions and services.
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