NASA’s Organizational Structure

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NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, was founded on July 29, 1958. It is the United States government agency responsible for the nation’s civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research. NASA’s headquarters is situated in Washington, D.C., with multiple research centers, facilities, and launch sites across the United States.

NASA employs more than 17,000 civil servants and contractors, making it one of the largest space agencies in the world. NASA has been at the forefront of space exploration, launching numerous missions to study distant planets, asteroids, and cosmic phenomena. Of course, one of NASA’s most notable achievements is the Apollo program, which successfully landed the first humans on the Moon in 1969. 

NASA continues to inspire the world with its groundbreaking discoveries and ambitions, including plans for future human missions to Mars and a commitment to advancing scientific knowledge about our universe.

NASA’s Leadership

NASA’s leadership is different from most organizations in that it’s a government agency. NASA is chiefly led by the Office of the Administrator, a team of high-level individuals who themselves are led by the NASA Administrator. 

The Administrator is the highest-ranking official at NASA and is appointed by the President of the United States. This individual provides overall leadership and direction for the agency, representing NASA to the public and government.

The Administrator is supported by a Deputy Administrator and various Associate Administrators, each responsible for a specific mission directorate or functional area. These directors oversee areas such as human exploration, space science, aeronautics research, technology development, and more.

NASA's Organizational Structure Chart

In addition to the Office of the Administrator, NASA is overseen by the NASA Council, which can be compared to a Board of Directors in the world of business. 

The NASA Council is a high-level advisory body that consists of senior executives and leaders from various NASA centers and mission directorates. The primary purpose of the NASA Council is to provide advice and recommendations to NASA’s top leadership, including the Administrator and Deputy Administrator.

NASA's Board of Directors Chart

NASA’s Organizational Structure

NASA’s organizational structure is designed to support its mission of space exploration, scientific research, aeronautics, and technology development. As a quasi-military institution, NASA operates with a hierarchy/chain-of-command style organizational structure.

A hierarchical organizational structure is one of the most common and traditional forms of organizing a business or institution. In this structure, authority and responsibility are organized in a top-down fashion, with a clear chain of command. 

At the top of this structure is the Office of the Administrator described above. Underneath this office come the Mission Directorates, each each focused on specific areas of the agency’s work, including Aeronautics, Exploration Systems, Science, and Space Operations. 

NASA also operates various research centers and facilities across the United States. These centers are responsible for specific aspects of NASA’s work, such as spaceflight operations, research, development, and technology testing. Each center is led by a Center Director. 

NASA’s heierarchical organizational structure is designed to support a diverse range of activities, from space exploration and scientific research to technology development and aeronautics. It promotes collaboration among various mission directorates, centers, and offices to achieve NASA’s ambitious goals and objectives in space and aerospace science. Please note that specific details about NASA’s organizational structure and leadership may evolve over time.

Want to learn more about functional and other organizational structures and their role in the business world? Here are some helpful blog resources that you can get started with:

Create this chart in Organimi! 

You can download the CSV file of NASA’s org structure, import it into Organimi and start editing this chart right away! Here’s how:

  1.  From your dashboard, select Data Import.
  2.  Click the CSV tile.
  3.  Click +Upload Your File.   
  4. Select an Excel file from your device.
  5.  In the Organization field, click the down arrow to select an organization.
  6. Click Create a New Chart
  7. Click Next and select: Organization Chart
  8. Select the auto-build tool to automatically build your chart.
  9. Voila!

Download CSV file:
NASA (7.61 KB)

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