Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, is one of 10 NASA centers. It employs more than 3,250 civil servants — employees of the federal government — and thousands more “contractors” from private companies. They provide a wide range of services and expertise to support NASA’s various projects, programs, and missions.
Many of the scientists, engineers, and technologists at Goddard build spacecraft and instruments to study Earth, the sun, our solar system, and the universe. Other folks here concentrate on exploring and interpreting the tsunamis of data that beams down from those satellites daily.
Our namesake is Robert H. Goddard, the rocketry pioneer. He had this nutty idea that it would be possible to fly without wings! Fortunately for us, Bob Goddard was entirely correct. By 1926, he had constructed and successfully tested the first rocket using liquid fuel. He helped lay the foundation for technological triumphs like the Apollo program and the space shuttle.