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Greenbelt, Md. 20771

Goddard Space Flight Center Home Page

This NASA field center, 10 miles northeast of Washington, D.C., has one of the world's leading groups of scientists, engineers and administrative managers. It has the largest scientific staff of all the NASA centers.

With its approximately 13,000 civil service and contract employees, including its facility at Wallops Island, Va., the center is involved in, among other things, research in the Earth and space sciences and the design, fabrication and testing of scientific satellites that survey the Earth and the universe as well as tracking satellites and suborbital space vehicles.

Because of its versatility, Goddard scientists can develop and support a mission, and Goddard engineers and technicians can design, build and integrate the spacecraft. Goddard also is involved in implementing suborbital programs using small and medium expendable launch vehicles, aircraft, balloons and sounding rockets.

Controllers in the Payload Operations Control Centers maintain a 24-hour vigil every day of the year for more than 20 orbiting spacecraft. Spacecraft being watched include Tracking and Data Relay Satellites which serve as vital communications links between orbiting spacecraft and Earth through a Goddard-managed ground terminal in White Sands, N.M. Two major telescopes, the International Ultraviolet Explorer, launched in 1978 and the widely-recognized Hubble Space Telescope (HST) launched in April 1990, also are under the watchful eyes of Goddard controllers.

So is the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE), launched in November 1989. COBE has provided scientists a whole new view of the cosmos. The spacecraft was designed to study the origin and dynamics of the universe, including the theoretical cataclysmic explosion known as the "Big Bang."

From the Space Telescope Operations Control Center at Goddard, managers and engineers control the orbiting HST observatory and maintain an around-the-clock vigil from an array of consoles. HST has accomplished a number of scientific achievements and, in spite of a spherical aberration in its primary mirror, has provided scientists with images of celestial objects in detail never seen before.

One of the highlights of 1993 will be the first HST servicing mission. The solar arrays will be replaced and several instruments and gyros will be changed out.

The Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (GRO), launched in April 1991, also is managed by Goddard. Compton's mission is to study gamma ray emitting objects in the Milky Way galaxy and beyond. Within its first 3 months of operation, the Energetic Gamma Ray Experiment Telescope, one of four instruments aboard Compton, detected one of the most luminous gamma-ray sources ever seen. The source of this radiation was identified with the variable Quasar 3C279 located in the constellation Virgo, approximately 7 billion light years from Earth.

In spite of their size, Goddard's Small Explorer (SMEX) missions will investigate some of the most important questions raised in astrophysics and space physics. The program will conduct focused investigations which probe conditions in unique parts of space, complement major missions, prove new scientific concepts or make significant contributions to space science in other ways. The first SMEX mission, the Solar Anomalous Magnetospheric Particle Explorer was launched in July 1992.

Goddard also has developed an Explorer Project which provides moderate-sized missions in quick response to new scientific opportunities. The Explorer Project includes the Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer, launched in 1992 to study a newly opened window of the electromagnetic spectrum called the extreme ultraviolet.

The Goddard-managed Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS), designed to collect, for the first time, data sets of the chemistry, dynamics and radiative inputs of the upper atmosphere, was launched on Discovery in September 1991. UARS is the first spacecraft to be launched as part of the Mission to Planet Earth - the NASA element of the U.S. Global Change Research Program.

Future Mission to Planet Earth projects include Earth probes, such as the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission and the most ambitious science mission ever undertaken, the Earth Observing System (EOS). The EOS mission, for which GSFC has the lead role in NASA, addresses pressing global issues, such as the depletion of atmospheric ozone and long-term global warming.

Acting as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s agent, Goddard procures the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite and TIROS series spacecraft and instruments required to meet NOAA's objectives. Goddard also provides for their launch.

Goddard manages the U.S. portion of many international projects including two x-ray observatories: the German Roentgen Satellite launched in June 1990 and the Japanese Astro-D launched in January 1993. Geotail, developed for Japan in support of Goddard's International Solar-Terrestrial Physics Project, was launched in 1992 to better understand the interaction of the sun, the Earth's magnetic field and the Van Allen radiation belts.

Much of the center's theoretical research is conducted at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City. Operated in close association with area universities, the institute provides support research in geophysics, astrophysics, astronomy and meteorology.

The scientific data from these and other space flight experiments are catalogued and archived at the National Space Science Data Center at Goddard in the form of magnetic tapes, microfilm and photographic prints to satisfy the thousands of requests each year from the scientific community. Dr. John M. Klineberg is Center Director.


Wallops Island, Va. 23337

Wallops Flight Facility, a part of the Goddard Space Flight Center, is one of the oldest launch sites in the world. Established in 1945, the facility covers 6,166 acres, including about 1,100 acres of marshland, in three separate areas of Virginia's Eastern Shore - the island, the main base and the mainland just west of the island. Wallops Island is about 7 miles southeast of the main base and is 5 miles long and l/2 mile wide at the widest point. Wallops is located on Virginia's Atlantic Coast, Delmarva Peninsula, about 40 miles southeast of Salisbury, Md., and 72 miles north of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.

Wallops manages and implements NASA's sounding rocket program which uses solid-fueled rocket launch vehicles to accomplish approximately 35 scientific, suborbital missions each year. Launches are conducted at Wallops and many other ranges throughout the world.

Wallops manages and coordinates NASA's Scientific Balloon Program using thin-film, helium-filled balloons to provide approximately 35 scientific missions each year. Launches are conducted at Palestine, Texas, Ft. Sumner, N.M., and several other sites throughout the world.

The facility operates and maintains the Wallops launch range and data acquisition facilities. In addition, mobile launch, tracking and data acquisition systems are transported to and operated at various world sites to accommodate sounding rocket, balloon and NASA network mission requirements.

Wallops supports NASA, DOD and other agencies in aeronautical research. Approximately 150-200 test operations, concentrating on aircraft/airport interface and aircraft operating problems research, are conducted each year at the research airport.

Wallops aircraft also are used to support applications and scientific research missions that are developing new instruments, providing ground truth data for satellite measurements and conducting field experiments.

Wallops provides support including launching, tracking, aircraft flights and data reduction to various segments of DOD, other agencies, commercial, international and educational ventures.

Wallops plans and conducts Earth and ocean physics, ocean biological and atmospheric science field experiments, satellite correlative measurements and developmental projects for new remote sensor systems. The main thrust of this effort is in support of the Laboratory for Hydrospheric Processes.

Wallops supports tenants (NOAA, Navy, Coast Guard) that use the land and facilities available at the site. The support also includes providing fire protection, utilities, coordination of operations, repairs to buildings, guards and other related services.

Wallops provides the facilities that are specifically designed for the management and education programs of the NASA Office of Professional Development and for other NASA courses and conferences. Wallops Director is Joseph McGoogan, Director, Suborbital Projects and Operations.