Commercial Space

In September 2021, NASA announced that the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate would be split into two new mission directorates: the Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate (ESDMD) and Space Operations Mission Directorate (SOMD).[1]

The Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate oversees the development of programs for NASA’s Artemis program and missions to the Moon and Mars. The directorate also oversees the human exploration system development for lunar and Mars exploration. The different programs that fall under the directorate’s purview include Orion, Space Launch System, Exploration Ground Systems, Gateway, Human Landing System, Extravehicular Activity and Human Surface Mobility.[2] Below is the organization chart for the directorate.

Source: NASA[3] 

The Space Operations Mission Directorate (SOMD) enables sustained human exploration missions and operations. The directorate oversees NASA’s space operations in and beyond LEO which includes commercial launch services to the ISS. Other responsibilities include maintaining the exploration systems, operating space transportation systems, and performing scientific research on orbit. SOMD also manages the space transportation services and space communications and navigation services.[4] Below is the organization chart for SOMD.

Source: NASA[5]

The Commercial Crew Program’s goal is to provide safe, reliable, and cost-effective human transportation to and from the ISS through partnerships with private industry. Using commercial companies focused on providing human transportation services, NASA is freed to focus on building spacecraft and rockets for deep space missions.[6]

Updated October 2022 by Erin Bennett