Status Report

NASA Program Scientist Job Announcements in Astrophysics, Heliophysics Divisions and the Exploration Science Strategy and Integration Office

By SpaceRef Editor
June 29, 2020
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NASA’s Science Mission Directorate anticipates releasing a USAJOBS announcement to fill multiple Program Scientist positions across the directorate at Headquarters in Washington, D.C., including the Heliophysics division, Astrophysics division, and Exploration Science Strategy and Integration Office (ESSIO). SMD Program Scientist(s) will work as part of a diverse and agile team whose core values include excellence, integrity, transparency, and teamwork. 


The USAJOBS announcement will open on June 29 and close on July 6.




SMD Program Scientists have broad responsibility for advancing NASA’s science portfolio. Program Scientists have substantial influence over high-level Heliophysics strategic planning, as well as leading the long-term scientific direction of missions and programs that they oversee. 


Specifically, a Program Scientist within SMD:


  • Plans, directs, and leads the integration of cross-functional scientific programs in various technical disciplines.
  • Implements balanced programs across the breadth of a science portfolio within technological, scientific, budgetary, and programmatic constraints.
  • Oversees and manages flight projects across the breadth of a science portfolio to enable scientific mission success within budgetary and programmatic constraints.
  • Oversees research and analysis programs, including
    • developing proposal solicitations;
    • implementing the review of submitted proposals;
    • developing recommendations to management for selections that integrate proposal review and programmatic considerations; and
    • initiating and monitoring research contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements.
  • Provides innovative and implementable solutions that are strategic and tactical, and in alignment with the priorities of NASA and the nation.
  • Communicates, engages, and builds consensus with multiple stakeholders, including the scientific community, external advisory committees, senior NASA leaders, interagency and international partners, and programs and projects at NASA Centers.
  • Manages multiple and competing responsibilities using effective time management and organizational skills.
  • Actively promotes diversity and inclusiveness, within NASA appointed teams and committees, and within the science community.


NASA recognizes that candidates with non-traditional career paths, or individuals who are at earlier stages of their careers may have demonstrated experience in different ways. NASA encourages applications from such individuals.


Application Process:


This will be a Direct Hire Authority (DHA) announcement through, so it will only be open for 5 days. The short period that the announcement is open is due to the type of hiring authority, which streamlines the hiring process and assists with rapidly filling competitive positions. In order to apply for this position, you will only need to submit your resume and answer the screening questions and supplemental information through USAJOBS.


Given the short period the announcement is open, it is a good idea to log into USAJOBS before and update your username, password, resume, etc., to facilitate the timely submission of an application.


Further Information:


The strategic objective of NASA’s Heliophysics Division is to understand the Sun and its interactions with Earth, the Solar System and the interstellar medium, including space weather. Heliophysics incorporates studies of the interconnected elements in a single system that produces dynamic space weather and that evolves in response to solar, planetary, and interstellar conditions. Studying this system allows us to discover the fundamental physics governing how the universe works, and also helps protect our technology and astronauts in space. The study of the coupled Solar-Terrestrial system can also teach us more about the habitability of planets in other stellar systems throughout the universe.


The strategic objective of NASA’s Astrophysics Division is to discover how the universe works, explore how it began and evolved, and search for Earth-like planets. Using space observatories ranging from small Explorers to Great Observatories, Astrophysics strategic objectives address fundamental questions about our universe: Probe the origin and destiny of our universe, including the nature of black holes, dark energy, dark matter and gravity; Explore the origin and evolution of the galaxies, stars and planets that make up our universe; Discover and study planets around other stars, and explore whether they could harbor life.  In seeking to address these objectives, astrophysics science embodies some of the most enduring quests of humankind.  


The Exploration Science Strategy and Integration Office (ESSIO) drives innovative and sustainable programs of scientific and human exploration with commercial and international partners. ESSIO has responsibility over the Lunar Discovery and Exploration Program (LDEP), as well as cross-division, cross-directorate, and external stakeholder integration activities.


Candidates interested in this opportunity are encouraged to contact NASA well in advance so they can make a well-informed decision on submitting an application during the very short (5 day) window when the job opportunity will be open for applications. 


Questions about the anticipated opening for a Program Scientist in the Heliophysics Division at NASA Headquarters may be directed to Simon Plunkett at 


Questions about the anticipated openings for a Program Scientist in the Astrophysics Division at NASA Headquarters may be directed to Eric Smith, Chief Scientist, Astrophysics Division at 


Questions about the anticipated opening for a Program Scientist in the Exploration Science Strategy and Integration Office David Burns at


SpaceRef staff editor.