USRA’s Science and Technology Institute (STI) in Huntsville, AL employs a dedicated workforce of approximately 30 scientists, engineers, postdocs, and interns in research areas of Astrophysics, Earth Sciences, and Heliophysics. Dr. Linda Parker was named the STI Director in September 2022 after having been the STI director from 2019-2021. STI operations are co-located with the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) Science Research Office in the National Space Science and Technology Center (NSSTC) located at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.
USRA’s collaboration with the NASA/MSFC research community spans over 50 years. It began in 1971 with work in microgravity, and was expanded in 1976 to include atmospheric sciences, in 1983 with efforts in high-energy astrophysics, and again in 2016 with research in heliophysics. Today, USRA STI supports multiple research and technology efforts including:
- SERVIR (Spanish for to serve or to help), a joint project between NASA and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to help developing countries use information provided by Earth observing satellites and geospatial technologies;
- The NASA Short-term Prediction Research and Transition (SPoRT) center, which provides observations and research capabilities to the operational weather community to improve short-term forecasts on a regional scale;
- The Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM), an instrument on the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite R-series (GOES-R), a joint project between NASA and NOAA;
- Chandra, one of NASA's "Great Observatories," which observes high-energy X-ray radiation from exotic astrophysical environments to help understand the structure and evolution of the universe;
- The Fermi Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM), which regularly detects cosmological gamma-ray bursts and disseminates rapid alerts to telescopes around the world;
- The Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE), launched successfully on December 9, 2021, which will observe polarized X-rays from supernova remnants, supermassive black holes, and super-magnetized dead stars.
The STI portfolio also includes research in heliophysics, space weather, and public health.