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NASA Centers - Research Emphases

Ames Research Center

As a leader in information technology research with a focus on supercomputing, networking and intelligent systems, Ames conducts the critical R&D and develops the enabling technologies that make NASA missions possible. Ames also is a leader in nanotechnology, fundamental space biology, biotechnology, aerospace and thermal protection systems, and human factors research. Ames research in astrobiology focuses on the effects of gravity on living things, and the nature and distribution of stars, planets and life in the universe.

In addition, Ames works collaboratively with the FAA, conducting research in air traffic management to make safer, cheaper and more efficient air travel a reality. Ames engages in information and education outreach, forms collaborative partnerships, and fosters commercial application of NASA technologies.

Dryden Flight Research Center

The Dryden Flight Research Center, located at Edwards, California, is NASA's primary installation for flight research.

Glenn Research Center

Glenn leads NASA's research in the microgravity science disciplines of fluid physics, combustion science and the field of microgravity acceleration measurement. Glenn is applying this expertise to Bioscience and engineering. The Center also designs power and propulsion systems for space flight systems in support of NASA programs and leads NASA's Space Communications Program.

Glenn leads NASA research and development in the area of Aeropropulsion, powering flight through the atmosphere and beyond. The Agency's major efforts are in subsonic, supersonic, hypersonic, general aviation, and high-performance aircraft propulsion systems as well as in materials, structures, internal fluid mechanics, instrumentation and controls, interdisciplinary technologies, and aircraft icing research. NASA Glenn also specializes in turbomachinery.

Goddard Space Flight Center

Center activities:

  • Conduct a preeminent program of research in the space and Earth science disciplines using measurements from space complemented by suborbital, ground-based and laboratory measurements and by theoretical investigations;

  • Develop and operate a broad spectrum of flight missions that are responsive to the needs of the science community;

  • Provide and operate spaceflight tracking and data acquisition networks;

  • Develop innovative technology and instruments critical to the success of our mission;

  • Develop and maintain advanced information systems for the display, analysis, archiving and distribution of space and Earth science data; and

  • Develop National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellite systems that provide environmental data for forecasting and research.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)

Research emphases not currently available. JPL is counted as a NASA Center in some cases but not others.

Johnson Space Center

Johnson leads NASA efforts in human space exploration. JSC is the home of mission control.

Kennedy Space Center

Kennedy serves as America's spaceport, the locus of nearly every NASA space launch.

Langley Research Center

More than half of NASA Langley's research is in aeronautics. Not only does Langley develop Airframe Systems, scientists also examine the layers of air planes and spacecraft fly through in Atmospheric Sciences.

Researchers have expanded their studies into other atmospheres, the kind spacecraft will find on distant planets, in NASA's Center of Excellence for Structures and Materials and in wind tunnels and test facilities.

Langley leads NASA initiatives in aviation safety, quiet aircraft technology, small aircraft transportation and aerospace vehicles system technology. It supports NASA space programs with atmospheric research and technology testing and development. Langley is home to the NASA Engineering and Safety Center.

Marshall Space Flight Center

Marshall manages the key propulsion hardware and technologies of the Space Shuttle, develops the next generation of space transportation and propulsion systems, oversees science and hardware development for the International Space Station, and handles a variety of associated scientific endeavors to benefit space exploration and improve life here on Earth.

Stennis Space Center

Stennis serves as NASA's rocket propulsion testing ground. The Applied Sciences Program bridges the gap between Earth science research results and the use of data to help its partner agencies make better informed decisions.