NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), located in Huntsville, Alabama, enables scientific discovery and deeper understanding of the cosmos through development and testing of sophisticated unmanned spacecraft, hardware and instruments for many projects, including NASA Great Observatories such as the Chandra X-ray Observatory, Hubble Space Telescope and the new James Webb Space Telescope. One of NASA’s largest field centers, Marshall has more than 2,300 civil service employees, a total workforce of nearly 6,000 and an annual budget of approximately $2 billion.
Scientists at NASA MSFC are conducting a wide spectrum of astronomy, space science, astrophysics, and heliophysics research to help answer elusive questions about our solar system and the cosmos—seeking to better understand the universe and our place in it, and working to unlock scientific mysteries that will improve and protect life on Earth. Chandra, one of NASA’s Great Observatories, was designed, developed and constructed at Marshall. Chandra continues to rewrite textbooks with discoveries about our own solar system and images of celestial objects billions of light years away. The Fast Neutron Spectrometer is design...ed to detect and measure the energy of neutrons, and is currently operating on the International Space Station. The Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM) is an instrument onboard the Fermi gamma ray telescope, a major NASA mission dedicated to observations of high energy gamma rays. GBM is a MSFC managed instrument that has been successfully operating for more than 10 years, and with our partnership with LIGO-Virgo’s study of gravitational waves, we have been part of some of the most exciting recent discoveries in multi-messenger astrophysics. The Astrophysics Branch played key role in the Concept Study Report for Lynx in the 2020 Decadal Survey; is developing the next X-ray orbital instrument, the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE), scheduled for launch in late 2021; is developing neutron detectors for the moon; is developing the next generation gamma-ray observatories (StarBurst and MoonBEAM), and is an integral partner in ATHENA and the NASA LISA Study team.