image of man installing a space instrument

Space Science & Engineering

Developing and managing advanced scientific payloads aboard satellites and sounding rockets

For more than three decades, Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has been a recognized leader in space science research as well as in the development of spacecraft instrumentation, avionics and electronics for both government and industry. The Space Science and Engineering Division’s scientific staff is active in a variety of research areas: heliospheric and solar physics; terrestrial and planetary magnetospheres; planetary geology and atmospheres; comets, asteroids, and other small solar system bodies; planetary system origins and formation; and high-energy astrophysics. SwRI was the principal investigator institution for the highly successful IMAGE mission and now leads the New Horizons, Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX), and Juno missions as well as the MMS science investigation. SwRI-developed in-situ and remote-sensing instruments have flown, are flying, or are under development for flight on a number of NASA and European Space Agency missions, while SwRI-developed avionics systems have flown without a single on-orbit failure on more than 50 government and commercial missions.

James L. Burch, Ph.D., Vice President
S. Alan Stern, Ph.D., Associate Vice President
Robin Canup, Ph.D., Associate Vice President
Scott Bolton, Ph.D., Associate Vice President

Hal F. Levison, Ph.D., Institute Scientist
Stefano Livi, Ph.D., Institute Scientist
John Spencer, Ph.D., Institute Scientist
William Perry, Institute Scientist
Keith Pickens, Ph.D., Institute Scientist
Roger Phillips, Ph.D., Institute Scientist
John M. Stone, Institute Engineer
Scott Weidner, Institute Engineer

Stephen Fuselier, Ph.D., Executive Director
Michael McLelland, Executive Director
Roy Torbert, Ph.D., Director
Mihir Desai, Ph.D., Director
Susan Pope, Director
William Bottke, Ph.D., Director
John Andrews, Director
Buddy Walls, Director

Ronald K. Black, Program Director
Ronnie Killough, Program Director
Robert E. Grimm, Ph.D., Program Director
Donald Hassler, Ph.D., Program Director
John Scherrer, Program Director
J. Hunter Waite, Ph.D., Program Director
G. Randall Gladstone, Ph.D., Program Director

  • Space Systems
    • Electromechanical Systems
    • Avionics Systems
    • Lighter-than-Air Systems
    • Mission Design and Support
    • Planning and Scheduling
    • Product Assurance
  • Planetary Science Directorate (Boulder, Colorado)
    • Space Studies
      • Planetary Physics
      • Planetary Atmospheres and Surfaces
      • Astronomy and Computer Systems
    • Space Operations
      • Space Operations and Technology
  • Earth, Oceans & Space
  • SwRI Space Science and Engineering Mission Sites

    Benefiting government, industry and the public through innovative science and technology
    Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a multidisciplinary, independent, nonprofit, applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization with 10 technical divisions.