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National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Goddard Space Flight Center

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The Mission Engineering and Systems Analysis Division (MESA) provides end-to-end mission systems engineering and guidance, navigation, and control capabilities and technology development to:

  • Conceive
  • Design
  • Analyze
  • Implement
  • Verify and Validate On Orbit
  • Support

… advanced scientific instruments and support platforms for ground-based, suborbital, and orbital science and exploration missions

Discipline engineering support includes attitude and orbit determination and control, spacecraft propulsion, trajectory design, mission architecture, and mission systems engineering for both in-house flight hardware development and oversight for out-of-house developed instruments and missions.

James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)


As large as a tennis court and sitting 1.5 million Km from earth, JWST will study every phase in the history of our Universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our own Solar System. Several innovative technologies have been developed for Webb. These include a folding, segmented primary mirror, adjusted to shape after launch; ultra-lightweight beryllium optics; detectors able to record extremely weak signals, microshutters that enable programmable object selection for the spectrograph; and a cryocooler for cooling the mid-IR detectors to 7K.


The Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2)

The primary goals of the ICESat-2 mission is to deploy a spaceborne sensor to collect altimetry data of the Earth's surface optimized to measure ice sheet elevation change and sea ice thickness, while also generating an estimate of global vegetation biomass. ICESat-2 will continue the important observations of ice-sheet elevation change, sea-ice freeboard, and vegetation canopy height begun by ICESat in 2003. The Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS) instrument will use a micro-pulse, multi-beam approach that provides dense cross-track sampling to help scientists determine a surface's slope with each pass of the satellite.  



Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM)

The GPM Core Observatory launched on February 27th, 2014 at 1:37pm EST from Tanegashima Space Center, Japan is providing comprehensive measurement of precipitation around the globe improving scientific understanding of the earth system and its response to natural and human-induced changes. GPM enables improved prediction of climate, weather, and natural hazards for present and future generations.



Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) Mission  

 A formation of 4 spacecraft that will precisely measure the magnetic environment around the earth to help our understanding of how those fields interact and effect “space weather.”  MMS is scheduled to launch in March, 2015.




Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST)  

WFIRST Astrophysics Focused Telescope Assets (AFTA) design of the mission makes use of an existing 2.4m telescope to enhance sensitivity and imaging performance. WFIRST-AFTA will settle essential questions in both exoplanet and dark energy research and will advance topics ranging from galaxy evolution to the study of objects within the Galaxy and within the Solar System.




Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE)  

The Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE) mission will deliver the most comprehensive look at global ocean color measurements in NASA's history. Not only will PACE monitor the health of our ocean, its science data will expand atmospheric studies by sensing our skies over an exceptionally broad spectrum of wavelengths.

Being built and tested at the Goddard Space Flight Center, PACE will expand our knowledge of key climate variables such as aerosol particles and clouds. It will extend NASA's long-term record of the phytoplankton pigment, chlorophyll, while providing new insights on ocean biodiversity.




Satellite Servicing Projects Division (SSPD)  

The Satellite Servicing Projects Division (SSPD) continues the legacy of the five successful Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Mission (1990-2009) and the Satellite Servicing Capabilities Office (2009-2016).

SSPD is advancing the state of the art in robotic and human servicing through the management of servicing missions, the execution of targeted technology development campaigns, and the infusion and transfer of servicing capabilities to government and industry stakeholders.

Through their efforts, SSPD is working to:
  1. Advance the state of robotic servicing technology to enable the routine servicing of satellites that were not designed with servicing in mind.
  2. Position the U.S. to be the global leader in in-space repair, maintenance and satellite disposal.
  3. Help to enable a future U.S. industry for the servicing of satellites.






    Goddard Space Flight Center
    MESA/Code 590
    8800 Greenbelt Road
    Greenbelt, Maryland 20771