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Obtaining Data From the NSSDC

NSSDC supports the space science research community, the education enterprise, and the general public. Further information on NSSDC's designated community is available.

NSSDC archives more than 230 TB of digital data from about 550 mostly-NASA space science spacecraft, of which the most important 7 TB are electronically accessible. NSSDC also has a large collection of film products. Here, "space science" means astronomy and astrophysics, solar and space plasma physics, and lunar and planetary science.

NSSDC mainly distributes digital data. Effective 01 January 2007, requests for photos and non-digital data will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis involving the head of NSSDC. When appropriate, duplication can be initiated if all costs are recovered; this includes the potential digitization of material and posting on FTP.

Among the options on the top NSSDC web page is the Master Catalog provides access to information about all NSSDC data holdings. It is especially useful for those who know the spacecraft data in which they are interested.

Note: Due to budget cuts, NSSDC is no longer able to fill some large requests. Neither checks nor money orders processed until your order has been reviewed and accepted. Credit cards are no longer accepted.

NASA Archives

NASA provides extensive resources for both long-term archiving of space science data through its "Permanent Archive" (NSSDC) and more immediate short-term or real-time data access through active archives. Archive functions are summarized here.

  • Permanent archive: data ingest, archival storage, data management, preservation planning, cross-system access
  • Active archive: data ingest, added-value services, user access, data management, cross-system access

In general, as the permanent archive, NSSDC communicates with the various active archives. The active archives in turn communicate with the NSSDC and the scientists, educators, and others who are end users of the data. In addition, numerous project, mission, and investigator web sites provide access to current data, some of which are not yet available through and active archive.

Active Archives Within NASA's Science Mission Directorate

In addition to the principal NASA archives and various project, mission and PI data sources, new information technologies are being applied to enable a higher level of access across heterogeneous data sources and systems. These new data venues are called virtual observatories or data grids; two examples are given below.

SPASE Initiatives

Space Physics Archive Search and Extract (SPASE) data model and dictionary activities currently include sample SPASE descriptions. Data for these data collections may be offline but can be acquired through the CRUSO office listed below.

For Further Information

Further questions about data availability and ordering can be directed to the NSSDC Coordinated Request and User Support Office (CRUSO).

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