Managing Space for the Space Program

For more than 50 years, the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) has been critical to carrying out the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) missions of space exploration and scientific discovery. And as you can imagine, the thousands of scientists, engineers, technologists, and other personnel supporting our nation’s space program require a lot of, well, space.

GSFC’s 1,200-acre campus in Greenbelt, Maryland, houses 33 major buildings and more than 2.6 million square feet of high-tech laboratories, computer centers, clean rooms, offices, support spaces, maintenance facilities, and institutional facilities. NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, located on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, is also home to 1,100 full-time civil service and contract employees.

EBA Engineering has supported GSFC’s Facilities Management Division (FMD) for more than 15 years as a subconsultant on the Facilities Construction, Engineering, and Technical Services (FaCETs) contract team. Our support has been aimed at improving FMD’s architectural and engineering information system to the state-of-the-art.

One of our major roles has been helping FMD solve the difficult space management issues that are bound to arise on such a large campus.

Space Data Collection and Management

One mammoth task for FMD is “cataloging” all spaces at the Greenbelt and Wallops facilities, capturing information like how many spaces are occupied, what function each space serves, the current condition of each space, and so on. This information is crucial for budgeting, planning, and maintaining the expansive facilities in both Maryland and Virginia.

Since 2014, EBA has been responsible for conducting FMD’s annual personnel and space data survey. The numbers from the 2015 survey help size up how large this task really is:

  • 8,916 line items reviewed
  • 2,232 items modified
  • 928 persons added
  • 1,030 persons removed
  • 627 persons found to have multiple room records
  • 530 space records modified

Now imagine tracking all of this changing information with a paper-and-pencil-based method—which was exactly the case for GSFC’s previous system. Not only was it quite difficult to search for and find information, but in many instances outdated information was not updated properly. FMD also had challenges integrating data collected back into their facilities management systems.

EBA was able to provide an effective method to leverage the facilities data NASA already had, collect and/or verify the information in each year’s survey, and integrate the data back into the established FMD and NASA systems currently in place. The facilities data is now readily available for strategic planning.

We updated NASA’s facility information retrieval (IR) system so it can be searched easily to find floor spaces; various offices/lab spaces; office occupancies; functions of personnel using the offices/lab spaces; common areas; and other features like doors, windows, and electrical fixtures. The system also includes age and maintenance data of various building systems like HVAC, plumbing, electrical, elevators, and fire protection.

The EBA team integrated Autodesk Revit models into the overall as-built process and then integrated the models with other NASA facility IR systems. The BIM model incorporates design, construction, and commissioning information with facilities management applications, such as Maximo and ARCHIBUS. This will help NASA improve asset reliability and longevity and use space efficiently.

EBA has helped to enhance the FMD annual space survey into a much more useful, recurring task that provides an institutional “reality check” for personnel databases and actual space utilization. Each survey takes approximately 3 months from proposal to final report and addresses roughly 7,500 records of office spaces at the Greenbelt and Wallops campuses. We are able to provide organizational maps of each floor, charts of available seating, and even a report of personnel changes including employees added or removed from spaces.

In all, this supports better space management, institutional planning, engineering, operations and maintenance, safety, and environmental decisions. The space flight center has its space in order!

Does your organization manage multiple facilities? Is prioritization a challenge? We would love to talk with you about how to leverage available data and data management methods to keep things running smoothly.

Walter Rook is CADD Manager for EBA’s FaCETs support to NASA. He can be reached at 301.286.3039 or at


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Walter Rook