The National Space Science Data Center serves as the permanent archive for NASA space science mission data. "Space science" means astronomy and astrophysics, solar and space plasma physics, and planetary and lunar science. As 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.
In addition to supporting active space physics and astrophysics researchers, NSSDC also supports the general public both via several public-interest web-based services (e.g., the Photo Gallery) and via the offline mailing of CD-ROMs, photoprints, and other items.
NSSDC provides on-line information bases about NASA and non-NASA data as well as spacecraft and experiments that generate NASA space science data. NSSDC also provides information and support relative to 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 in Greenbelt, MD. 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 currently provides its on-line data and services free of charge. For offline support (e.g., replication and mailing of magnetic tapes), NSSDC charges the incremental cost of fulfilling requests, although small charges may be waived for the NASA research community. See our Charge and Service Policy for further information
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 30 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-1980's NSSDC received and disseminated increasing data volumes via electronic networks. Most network dissemination today is via WWW and FTP, and most offline data dissemination is via CD-ROM.