Our Mission

Spectrum Management is involved during the development of concept of operations for every NASA mission seeking to use the electromagnetic spectrum. Goddard’s Spectrum Management office is the responsible authority for all Goddard missions and NASA missions using S-band to obtain the required equipment certification and frequency authorization from the national licensing authority.
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True spectrum management began in the U.S. with the Communications Act of 1934, which granted the president authority to manage spectrum for all federal use. Management was originally done through administrative licensing, established to protect licensees’ signals from interference.

Today, spectrum management in the U.S. is governed by two agencies, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which governs use by federal agencies, and the Federal Communications Commission, which manages spectrum use by non-federal entities. On a global scale, the International Telecommunications Union governs spectrum use worldwide. The Goddard Spectrum Management team represents the center to these organizations, supports the regulation of NASA’s use of the electromagnetic spectrum, and development of spectrum policy for the center and agency.


Spectrum refers to the electromagnetic spectrum, comprised of signals in the form of waves, such as visible light and radio. The electromagnetic spectrum, specifically in the form of radio waves, makes possible the communications on virtually every NASA mission. It is critical to the important science work NASA does. Because spectrum is limited and must be shared internationally among all organizations, allocations are assigned by regions as specified in Volume 1 of the ITU Radio Regulations. The U.S. is part of Region 2. Frequencies are assigned by service type.

Spectrum Background
Managing radio-frequency requirements critical to every mission’s communications.