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The George C. Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) is the U.S. government's civilian rocketry and spacecraft propulsion research center. The original home of NASAmarker, Marshall is today the agency's lead center for Space Shuttle propulsion and its external tank; payloads and related crew training; International Space Station (ISS) design and assembly; and computers, networks, and information management. Located on the Redstone Arsenalmarker near Huntsville, Alabamamarker, MSFC is named in honor of General of the Army George Marshall.

The center also contains the Huntsville Operations Support Center (HOSC), a facility that supports Space Shuttle launch, payload and experiment activities at the Kennedy Space Centermarker, ISS launch and experiment operations. The HOSC also monitors rocket launches from Cape Canaveral Air Force Stationmarker when a Marshall Center payload is on board.


Ceremony of transfer from Army to NASA July 1, 1960
MSFC arose from the US Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA) and the Army Ordnance Missile Command (AOMC) centered at Redstone Arsenal. Initially housed at Fort Blissmarker, TX, the team led by Wernher von Braun was later transferred to Redstone Arsenal. The transition from military to civilian space exploration came when President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced on site the formation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on July 1, 1960. At this time Marshall also received its name and a bronze bust of the general from the President. The center became the civilian base for von Braun, his team of German rocket scientists and a host of military and civilian contractors.


Present and future

Modern boosters included the Space Shuttle liquid and solid propellant engines and the Delta series, used in satellite and Mars mission launches.

Starting in 2006, MSFC's Exploration Launch Projects Office began work on the new Project Constellation mission vehicles (Ares I, Ares V and Orion) which will replace the aging Shuttle fleet as well as transport humans to the Moon, Mars and other future destinations. MSFC is responsible for design and development and testing of the Ares I crew and Ares V cargo launch vehicles while Johnson Space Centermarker in Houston, TX has overall responsibility for development. In addition, the MSFC Lunar Precursor and Robotic Program office will manage projects and direct studies on lunar robotic precursor activities across NASA. The Lunar Lander Project Office originally planned to be established at Marshall, has been appointed for development at JSC. This office will be responsible for performing early trade studies and developing requirements for the Altair lunar lander that will transport crew members to and from the surface of the moon.

Projects and project offices

  • International Space Station Support -- Payload Operations and Integration Center
  • Launch Vehicle Development—Exploration Launch Projects Office
  • Advanced Propulsion—The Propulsion Research Laboratory
  • Exploring the Solar System—Exploration Launch Projects Office
    • Constellation Program Office
    • Lunar Precursor and Robotic Program
    • Discovery and New Frontiers Program Office
  • National Space Science and Technology Centermarker
  • Optics and Exploration Technology—Space Optics Manufacturing Technology Center
    • Instrument and Payload Systems Department
    • The Spacecraft and Vehicle Systems Department
    • The Propulsion Systems Department
    • Materials and Processes Laboratory
    • Test Laboratory
    • Mission Operations Laboratory
  • Continuing Scientific Research and Discovery
  • Engineering the Future—Engineering Directorate

Current projects

Past projects


Many vestiges of the early programs are still visible around the center, including engine test stands. The nearby United States Space & Rocket Centermarker museum showcases much of Marshall's history.




External links

See also

  • Alex McCool, manager of the Space Shuttle Projects Office

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