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Space Mission Analysis Branch

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As a premiere space concepts and systems analysis organization, SMAB enables well-informed decision-making throughout NASA with integrated analysis and assessments of complex space systems, architectures, and portfolios based on benefit, cost, and risk. Through support of a broad set of agency customers, SMAB provides holistic insights within and across organizations that advance NASA’s human exploration and robotic scientific missions.

Meet the Team

SMAB Stories

Learn more about the people behind the work at the Space Mission Analysis Branch

View SMAB Stories

  • Daniel Tiffin, a member of the Space Mission Analysis Branch of the NASA Langley Research Center. Pictured behind him is an artistic rendering of one example of the many refueling concepts being studied. A reusable Earth-to-LEO tanker (right) could refuel a reusable orbital tanker (left) capable of ferrying propellant to virtually any cislunar orbit. From there, the propellant is made available to lunar landers, deep space transportation systems, or any vehicle in need of refueling.
    “Imagine what life would look like if we didn’t have gas stations.” We talk with SMAB engineer Daniel Tiffin about his efforts to replicate the function of a gas station in orbit, with the goal of allowing us to refuel Artemis spacecraft for deep-space exploration.

SMAB Projects

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SMAB’s projects include pre-formulation concepts, integrated systems analysis, and support for past and present missions. Learn more about the work we do by visiting our project pages.

Learn about Our Projects

Branch Core Capabilities

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Space Concepts, Analysis, & Assessments


  • We evaluate integrated sequences of missions over extended periods of time against technical and programmatic objectives.
  • We generate comprehensive risk assessments on space system supportability and affordability.

Integrated Architectures

  • We develop integrated architectures that blend system and mission concepts to achieve long-term exploration, science, and technology development goals.


  • We design and assess end-to-end space missions using in-house and commercial off-the-shelf tools.
  • We provide high fidelity mission simulation and visualization for space missions to enable detailed technical analysis and public engagement.


  • We support in-depth, multi-discipline design and analysis of concepts and vehicles from pre-formulation through operations.

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Decision Analysis

  • We apply decision analysis methods to inform NASA decision makers for activities such as portfolio characterization and prioritization, trade space exploration and down-selection of design options, and cost-benefit analysis.
  • We develop independent decision models to enable traceable data-driven decisions.

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Strategic Analysis

  • We facilitate the advancement of organizational strategy through the development and execution of strategic frameworks.
  • We provide independent technical and programmatic assessments of space technology and system concepts.

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Technology Assessment and Gap Analysis

  • We model and assess the impacts of technologies on space systems, missions, and architectures.
  • We characterize technology and capability needs on a system and architectural level to inform portfolio formulation and prioritization.