The National Space Science Data Center serves as the permanent archive for NASA space science mission data. "Space science" pertains to astronomy and astrophysics, solar and space plasma physics, and planetary and lunar science. As the permanent archive, NSSDC teams with NASA's discipline-specific space science "active archives" which provide access to data to researchers and, in some cases, to the general public. NSSDC also serves as NASA's permanent archive for space physics mission data. It provides access to several geophysical models and to data from some non-NASA mission data.
NSSDC supports active space physics and astrophysics researchers. Web-based services allow the NSSDC to support the general public. This support is in the form of information about spacecraft and access to digital versions of selected imagery. NSSDC also provides access to portions of their database contains information about data archived at NSSDC (and, in some cases, other facilities), the spacecraft which generate space science data and experiments which generate space science data. NSSDC services also included are data management standards and technologies.
NSSDC is part of the Solar System Exploration Data Services Office (SSEDSO) in the Solar System Exploration Division at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. NSSDC is sponsored by the Heliophysics Division of NASA's Science Mission Directorate. NSSDC acts in concert with various NASA discipline data systems in providing certain data and services.
NSSDC was first established at Goddard Space Flight Center in 1966. NSSDC's staff consists largely of physical scientists, computer scientists, analysts, programmers, and data technicians. Staffing level, including civil service and onsite contractors, has ranged between 15 and 100 over the life of NSSDC. Early in its life, NSSDC accumulated data primarily on 7-track and 9-track tape and on various photoproducts, and all data dissemination was via media replication and mailing. Starting in the mid-1980s, NSSDC received and disseminated increasing data volumes via electronic networks. Dissemination formats are presently via the internet, either via HTTP or FTP.
Data Services contains data and mission information: The Multiwavelength Milky Way, the Multimedia Catalog and the NSSDC Photo Gallery.
Flight Mission Information contains lists of flight missions and information about them; this is where the NSSDC Master Catalog is along with mission-specific access. A graphical interface to mission information is in this area as well.
Related Information Services have detailed information about data held at NSSDC via the Master Catalog, NSSDC Lunar and Planetary Science, and NSSDC Heliophysics.
There are also NASA Astrophysics Data Archive/Service Centers. These include HEASARC (High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center), IRSA (Infrared Science Archives), LAMBDA (Legacy Archive for Microwave Background Data Analysis), MAST (Barbara A. Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes) There are also other NASA archives/service centers; MSC (Michelson Science Center), NASA ADS (Astrophysics Data System), NED (NASA Extragalactic Database).
Heliophysics contains data and information services, data archive, and service centers. Information also includes the Heliophysics Virtual Observatories, using the SPASE data model to describe the resources.
The NSSDC Master Catalog is available for the queries pertaining to information about data that are archived at the NSSDC as well as for supplemental information via the following query mechanisms: