Skip Navigation


Focusing on enabling customers to make analysis-based decisions in support of human and robotic space missions and architectures…


The Space Mission Analysis Branch (SMAB) focuses on enabling its customers to make analysis-based decisions in support of human and robotic space missions and architectures. Significant support is provided to the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, the Science Mission Directorate, and the Space Technology Mission Directorate in the areas of systems analysis, campaign analysis, technology portfolio assessment, and analytical tool development. SMAB conducts Pre-Phase A studies, which devise various feasible concepts from which new projects and programs can be selected. As well as Pre-Phase A studies, SMAB conducts Phase A studies which further develop programs as well as formulates conceptual designs for small spacecraft/sensor/experiment combinations and human occupied space systems. We perform independent, technical assessments and evaluations of existing and future space systems. Results and products are provided to enable senior leadership to make robust strategic decisions.



SMAB Projects

Customers and Projects Supported

The Space Mission Analysis Branch has supported NASA’s human spaceflight programs for over 30 years, providing agency leadership with a multi-disciplinary design and analysis capability that can rapidly develop and analyze spacecraft, architecture, and campaign concepts, assessing their performance, cost, risk, and technology/capability needs from cradle to grave.  The branch participated in design of space station from its inception, through the 1980s (Space Station Freedom) and 1990s (International Space Station), and developed and assessed government, international partner, and commercial resupply options such as Ariane Transfer Vehicle (ATV, early 1990s), Crew Rescue Vehicle (2002), Orbital Space approachPlane (2003), and Alternative Access to Space (2004).  The branch has been an integral part of the agency’s human Mars, Moon, and Near Earth Asteroid planning for over 25 years through activities such as the Space Exploration Initiative (1989), the Decadal Planning Team (2001), Vision for Space Exploration (2004), Exploration Systems Architecture Study & Shuttle/Station Configuration Options Team (2005), Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee (Augustine, 2009), International Space Exploration Coordination Group (present), and the Human Architecture Team (present).  The branch continually challenges the agency status quo through out-of-the-box vehicle and architecture concepts such as the Orbital Aggregation & Space Infrastructure Systems (OASIS, 2004), Descent-Assisted, Split Habitat Lander (DASH, 2006), Cargo Star Horizontal Lander (2006), and the Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission boulder capture concept (2014).  The branch has also delivered key human spaceflight planning support, to include providing agency leadership a prediction of the number of likely flight achievable prior to the end of the Space Shuttle Program (2004) and assessing the most advantageous crew/cargo launch order for the two-launch approach used during the Constellation Program (2009).  The Space Mission Analysis Branch’s concept development and integrated analysis capabilities have, and continue to, change the agency’s human spaceflight plans of today through visionary concepts and analyses defining the possibilities of tomorrow.

  • ARRM_slider
  • havoc_slider
  • HAT_slider
  • decisionSupport_slider

Asteroid Robotic Redirect Mission (ARRM)


Human Spaceflight Architecture Team (HAT)

Decision Support