For the fourth article in our series on NASA facilities we are going to focus on some of the lesser known NASA locations. We hope you’re both surprised and intrigued by what’s happening at these facilities.
Goddard Research Center
Located just outside of Washington in Greenbelt, MD, the Goddard Research Center was established in 1959 as NASA’s first space flight complex. Goddard is critical to carrying out NASA’s primary mission of space exploration and scientific discovery.
The Center is named for legendary physicist Dr. Robert Hutchings Goddard, who is considered to be the father of modern rocket propulsion – so a very appropriate honor to his memory. You can learn more about Dr. Goddard on NASA’s website.
Today Goddard is primarily known for their operations related to the Hubble and James Webb Telescopes. Teams from Goddard also manage communications between mission control and astronauts aboard the International Space Station as it orbits Earth.
Goddard Institute of Space Studies
Is located at Columbia University in New York City and is a laboratory in the Earth Sciences Division of the Goddard Space Flight Center. It is also affiliated with the Columbia Earth Institute and School of Engineering and Applied Science. The Institute was founded in 1961 to conduct research in space sciences to support Goddard Space Flight Center programs. These research areas included the structure of the Earth, Moon, and other planets; the origin and evolution of the solar system; properties of interplanetary plasma; and the structure and evolution of stars.
Today, a key objective of GISS research is prediction of atmospheric and climate changes in the 21st century. By studying past climate change on Earth and of other planetary atmospheres, teams at GISS can assess our understanding of our atmosphere and its evolution.
Katherine Johnson IV&V Facility
And we wind up Women’s History Month with a review of the Katherine Johnson Independent Verification and Validation Facility, located in Fairmont, WV. NASA’s IV&V facility ensures the safety and successful operation of software loaded on NASA’s high-profile missions, including manned missions. Named for the legendary “human computer” Dr. Katherine Johnson, whose biography was so eloquently portrayed in the film “Hidden Figures.”
Some of the programs that are currently being supported by the IV&V facility include the Artemis Program, where NASA plans to land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024 for further exploration in collaboration with commercial and international partners.
Joint Polar Satellite System-2 is NASA’s program to provide satellite-based observations and products for NOAA Polar-Orbiting Environmental Satellites (POES) and Suomni NPP satellite and ground systems.
The Psyche mission is a planned exploration of a unique metal asteroid that orbits the Sun between Mars and Jupiter. With an exposed nickel-iron core, is appears to be what remains of an early planet and may provide insight to the origins of our solar system.