The Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), located in Huntsville, AL, became a NASA field center on July 1, 1960. Since then, Marshall has provided the agency with the mission-critical design, development, and integration of launch and space systems required for space operations, exploration, and scientific missions. Marshall’s unique interdisciplinary approach to problem-solving brings scientific and engineering expertise together, providing answers that improve life on Earth, inspire a new generation, and stimulate innovation for the future of space exploration.

MSFC plays a key role in NASA’s missions, from space launch systems to support for living and working in space, to exploring worlds beyond our own.
Marshall’s legacy in rocket science includes providing the rockets that powered Americans to the Moon, developing the space shuttle propulsion system, and managing the development of Skylab, Spacelab, space station nodes, the Hubble Space Telescope, the Chandra X-ray Obser vatory, and many scientific instruments. Today, the Marshall team is leading development of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), the next advanced, heavy-lift launch vehicle.

Facilities and Capabilities

Propulsion Systems: Developing and maturing propulsion technologies for space transportation and science missions, MSFC contributes engineering expertise for all transportation phases and operates the Propulsion Research Development Laboratory, a national resource for researchers from NASA, other government agencies, and universities.

Materials and Processes: Managing the National Center for Advanced Manufacturing — NASA’s principal resource for aerospace manufacturing research, development, and innovation — MSFC defines and develops state-of-the-art materials, streamlined processes, and lightweight, highstrength products to be used in the harsh space environment.

Mission Operations: Ground systems work includes telemetry, voice, video, information management, data reduction, and payload planning to link scientists around the world with their experiments. Marshall is home to NASA’s Payload Operations Center, the primary science command for the International Space Station (ISS), as well as the Mission Operations Lab - oratory and the Huntsville Op erations Support Center.

Innovator Jeff Ding (left) and Technology Transfer’s Sammy Nabors examine the Auto-Adjustable Pin Tool, a significant advancement in Friction Stir Welding developed at MSFC.
Space Systems: MSFC has a rich history of designing, developing, integrating, testing, and fielding the range of human and robotic systems. The center defines and develops science experiments and life support systems; performs mechanical design and analysis, electrical design, and integration for hardware and data systems; and performs testing and flight certification for ISS science racks.

Spacecraft and Vehicle Systems: MSFC provides system design and analysis, including structural, avionics, and flight mechanics; performs end-to-end systems engineering to fully integrate spacecraft and vehicles with ground processing and launching facilities; provides vehicle technical design and verification; and provides sustaining engineering support.

Test Facilities: The Marshall campus includes more than 40 facilities for all types of rocket and space transportation technology testing, from small components to full-up engine hot-fire testing. The center provides an unsurpassed capability for testing large rocket structures and offers one of the few test stands in the world that can handle large liquid-fueled rocket engines.

Space Optics Manufacturing: MSFC performs research on optics for future space telescopes, and develops ultralightweight optics materials and fabrication technologies.