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Submitting Data

Submitting Data to the Space Physics Data Facility (SPDF).

SPDF serves as the NASA Heliophysics active Final Archive for heliospheric, magnetospheric and ITM missions, plus some legacy data from earlier solar missions. Under the current Heliophysics Science Data Management policy, SPDF’s responsibilities also include all heliophysics data that were formerly archived at the National Space Science Data Center (NSSDC), except that data only available offline on media remain NSSDC's responsibility until restored and sent to SPDF.

SPDF’s charter is the accurate and complete capture, long-term preservation, and long-term accessibility of heliophysics data from NASA-funded missions, plus select non-NASA data important to NASA heliophysics strategic science objectives. Our priority is higher-level and more generally useful digital data products, typically data at high-time resolution but calibrated and converted to physical units and processed to scientifically interesting forms: e.g. plasma moments; particle distribution functions in energy and pitch angle or as phase-space densities; geographically registered images. We also welcome long-term valid and useful supplemental summary graphics and other products. However, mission providers should note that NASA usually requires archiving lowest level (Level-0) products as well.

We work directly with all potential data providers however necessary to ensure the capture of important data products, with the goal that our submission processes are easy for data providers to follow and enable archived data to be broadly accessible and usable. We will work directly with flight missions and instrument teams as early as reasonable (preferably pre-launch) to ensure a good mutual understanding of what data should be archived, and when and how such data can best be submitted to SPDF. We have many tools and services that can contribute to meeting mission objectives and improving the use of mission data by the broad research community within the context of data from other missions. To utilize these capabilities and to best ensure all data are fully archived, we strongly encourage missions to archive their data with us as data is produced and not wait until final data products and documentation are produced at the end of a mission.

SPDF strongly prefers data supplied in standard but non-proprietary formats (i.e. digital data in CDF, netCDF, FITS, HDF) or as ASCII files for sufficiently simple data. We also strongly encourage the use of standard metadata, such as the ISTP/SPDF CDF metadata standards ISTP/SPDF CDF metadata standards or SPASE data description standard ( But in all cases, complete archiving requires appropriate metadata and other documentation sufficient to allow the correct and independent long-term use of the data by future researchers.

To discuss or arrange any specific data submission, please contact the SPDF project scientist (Bob McGuire,, 301-286-7794) or any member of the SPDF science curation and support staff ( For data and document submissions, SPDF prefers that data be submitted electronically, either by SPDF retrieving files from a provider-identified online site or by a provider pushing data to an SPDF-designated ingest area. Where necessary, SPDF can handle data submitted on other media, such as DVDs.

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