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Internships with SACD

We are building the next chapter of American exploration … join our team!

The Systems Analysis and Concepts Directorate’s (SACD) workforce includes civil servants, contractors, and interns. This page provides information about multiple opportunities in SACD for students, with a focus on internships.

While Pathways internships are civil servant positions and may be full-time, the Pathways program and its nuances are captured in this Internships page.

A large group of young people are standing in front of a large, grey aircraft on a tarmac. It's a sunny day with a few white clouds in an otherwise blue sky.
Participants in the NASA SARP internship program pose for a photo in front of the Dynamic Aviation B200 aircraft on Saturday, June 17, 2023.

Why Work for NASA and SACD?

  • Meaningful work that makes an impact.
  • A culture that values safety, integrity, teamwork, excellence, and inclusion.
  • Training and mentoring opportunities with some of the best minds in the world.

NASA leads the aerospace industry.
NASA has an illustrious heritage, and we do not rest on our laurels. We are still making giant leaps in aviation and aerospace technologies that improve everyday life on Earth.

Since SACD conducts analysis of advanced aerospace concepts, we touch cutting-edge ideas and help NASA leaders make funding and strategy decisions that affect not just the future of NASA, but also the future of humanity.

At NASA, we never stop learning. 
In addition to challenging and meaningful work that is aligned with your interests, we also provide other learning, growth, mentorship, and networking opportunities. 

At NASA, our work changes the history of humanity. 
Our diverse community is united by a common purpose: to explore the unknown in air and space and inspire the world through discovery. Here, innovation is a staple, teamwork is a must, and everyone’s opinion counts.

In 2023, NASA was named the “Best Place to Work in the Federal Government” by the Partnership for Public Service for the 11th year in a row. 

If you want to do amazing work and enjoy real work-life balance, we know you will love it here at NASA. 


Where We Work

Two smiling young men are walking by a large aircraft hangar with the word "Langley" written on the roofline.
NASA SARP Interns exit the NASA Langley Hangar to board the NASA B200 aircraft for their first atmospheric test flights of the summer, 2023.

NASA Langley Research Center is located in Hampton, Virginia, within the Hampton Roads metro area in southeastern Virginia. Note: Some opportunities are in-person at NASA Langley, and some are virtual. Generally, our in-person interns work in the on-site office. Virtual interns must still travel to a NASA facility to be badged.

What We Do

The Systems Analysis and Concepts Directorate (SACD) is composed of three branches: Aeronautics Systems Analysis Branch (ASAB), Space Missions Analysis Branch (SMAB), and Vehicle Analysis Branch (VAB).

SACD Branch Comparison Tool

In Five Words or LessThe “aero” side of aerospaceThe “space” side of aerospaceBoth sides of aerospace
Work DescriptionASAB focuses on creating and assessing advanced aircraft concepts and technologies, and performing portfolio and strategic analysis, to improve aviation connectivity and sustainability.SMAB enables well-informed decision-making with integrated analysis and assessments of complex space systems, architectures, and portfolios based on benefit, cost, and risk.VAB focuses its expertise in designing and evaluating revolutionary high speed (Mach 5+) vehicles within, entering, or leaving an atmosphere to enable advances in aeronautics and space exploration. 
Why Apply?Do you have a passion for aviation and want to guide the aviation technology of the future? Then you should apply!Are you interested in having a direct impact on the direction of space exploration, technology, and/or science? Do you want to work as part of a close knit, highly collaborative team? Then you should apply!Are you interested in working on really challenging problems? Are you interested in hypersonic, launch, or reentry vehicles? Then you should apply!
Preferred Education Level (specific to Pathways Interns only)Pathways intern opportunities in ASAB range in experience and grades, depending on current project needs, typically GS-7+ (e.g., Masters+).SMAB hires Pathways interns at the GS-4 (rising sophomore) to GS-9/11 (doctoral) levels.Since VAB is more specialized, VAB usually hires Pathways interns at higher education level than ASAB or SMAB: GS-12+ (e.g., doctoral level with specialized experience).
For More InformationASAB websiteSMAB websiteVAB website
Two people are carrying a large white balloon aloft while walking down a gravel path.
NASA interns assist NASA Scientist Emeritus Anne Thompson to release an ozone sonde from the parking lot of the VCU Rice Rivers Center on Friday, June 16, 2023.

High School Students

Opportunities in SACD for high school students include paid internships and unpaid student volunteer positions. Get details at Student Programs at NASA Langley

Opportunities at NASA Langley outside of SACD also include free summer programs.

Undergraduate and Graduate Students

Opportunities in SACD for undergraduate and graduate students include paid internships (OSTEM Engagement or Pathways), fellowships (graduate students only), unpaid student volunteer positions, and student design competitions. Get details at Student Programs at NASA Langley. 

Opportunities at NASA Langley outside of SACD include other student design competitions.

Q. What are the similarities and differences between OSTEM Engagement and Pathways internships?

A. Both types accept almost all majors – not just STEM majors – and prior experience is not required! Learn more about both internship types in this NASA intern brochure.

OSTEM Engagement positions are one-time internships with NASA. OSTEM Engagement interns are not civil servant NASA employees so civil servant policies and benefits do not apply. Deadlines for the spring, summer, and fall sessions and the application portal are on the NASA Intern page. You can see open positions weeks to months in advance. Avoid waiting until the deadlines. You may show initiative by reaching out to the mentor directly to introduce yourself and why you are a good fit.

Pathways positions are internships that offer a direct pipeline to full-time employment at NASA upon graduation. Pathways interns are civil servant NASA employees so civil servant policies and benefits do apply. Deadlines are listed on the NASA Pathways page and the application process is through You can see open positions only for the several days that they are open. You may create an account on USAJOBS and sign up to be automatically notified about Pathways vacancies meeting your interests. 

Interested in applying to a Pathways position?

Explore our Pathways Application Guide and FAQs.