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Partner with STScI

STScI welcomes partnerships with new missions and mission proposals. This page focuses on operating or proposed missions interested in partnering with STScI's Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST) for data archiving, data retrieval tools, and data analysis tools. For a wider range of support that STScI can provide to your mission, from peer review and scheduling to "level 0-3" processing pipelines, please see the Community Missions Office page.

MAST Community-Contributed Missions

Email to get started!

From Explorer missions to Pioneers-funded balloons and SmallSats, NASA may require or recommend that many smaller missions archive their data in a NASA-approved archive. MAST is a comprehensive archive supported by NASA, hosting both NASA and international data from dozens of operating and legacy missions in a unified archive. MAST is the natural home for any UV, optical, or near-IR mission, as a complement to our existing holdings. Satellites, sounding rockets, balloons, and more are all welcome! Even if you're uncertain that MAST is the best archive for your mission, we encourage you to contact us to discuss the possibilities.

To facilitate this influx of new missions into the archive, we are streamlining the mission ingestion process. Most smaller missions will be ingested as MAST Community-Contributed Missions, through which a basic level of data archiving mandated by NASA and other agencies can usually be arranged without any cost to the contributing mission. These contributed missions can also opt to provide funding to MAST for add-ons to the base-level ingest, under formal contractual arrangements between MAST and the mission.

Timeline for prospective Principal Investigators:

If your mission is already approved or already launched, we are happy to work with you; please get in touch with us to discuss a plan! But when circumstances allow, please adhere to the following timeline:

  • 3 months before your proposal to the relevant mission program is due to NASA or another mission-funding institution, and at least 2 months before any internal deadlines: contact us if your proposal might require MAST's commitment to funded add-ons. At least 3 months of lead-time is needed to establish formal contract arrangements for higher levels of support beyond the base-level ingest package.
  • 1-2 weeks before your proposal is due: if you haven't contacted us yet, please get in touch ASAP to discuss your mission and obtain a Letter of Support or Memorandum of Understanding from MAST indicating our commitment to providing your mission with the base-level ingest.
  • After your mission proposal is successful: please get in touch with us during the design/manufacturing stage of your mission. If circumstances allow, we strongly encourage you to start working with us on the mission manual during this phase, and to provide us with example data files for feedback on the file structure and metadata content.
Base-level support vs. funded add-ons:

The table below outlines services MAST can provide at no cost to the mission vs. services that generally require a funded contract with MAST. These are guidelines, with the goal of ensuring that MAST has sufficient time and resources to pursue our core priorities. If your mission doesn't seem to fit into this paradigm, we strongly encourage you to discuss the situation with us. Furthermore, the column for optional funded add-ons is not intended to be complete; other possibilities are open to discussion!

MAST service Base-level support (no cost) Potential add-ons with funded contract
Data volume Permanent archive for up to 10 TB/mission Higher data volumes possible
Data releases Up to 3 discrete data releases per mission More than 3 discrete data releases, or continuous ingestion
Mission landing page MAST will create a mission landing page (e.g., FIMS-SPEAR). (Already included at no cost)

Mission manual

MAST will provide a skeleton template, text for filename syntax and data access sections, and light copy-editing.


You (the mission team) will write the instrumentation, data processing, and data products sections on your own. These sections are mandatory and must be written in STScI's Outerspace, like this example.

MAST can:

  • collaborate on writing the instrumentation, data processing, and data products sections.
  • collate mission documents or merge documents from multiple sub-teams.
  • perform rewrites and heavy copy-editing.
  • write executive summaries of internal documents or published papers.
Data file format requirements and file editing

In general, the data files you provide to us must meet our standards for formatting and metadata content. We will work with you throughout the development of your mission to ensure this outcome. (Guidelines coming soon! In the meantime, note that the guidelines for contributed missions will be broadly similar to those for High-Level Science Products: HLSP formats, HLSP metadata)


MAST can perform small-scale and simple restructuring of file formats and metadata.

MAST can perform large-scale or complex restructuring of file formats and/or data recalibration.
Cross-mission data access

For simple data products and a reasonable number of files, MAST will ingest your data into our cross-mission data access services (the Portal, Astroquery, etc.)


More complex or extraordinarily numerous files may be provided by MAST as direct download links and scripts in the mission manual.

MAST can:

  • prioritize ingestion of complex data products if possible.
  • provide fast-tracked integration into modernized search interfaces, catalogs.mast, and/or cross-mission science platforms.
Mission-specific data access All data access will be through our multi-mission services (such as the Portal) and/or direct download links and scripts in the mission manual.

MAST can create:

  • modern search forms for mission-specific metadata (e.g., HST and CLASSY).
  • cutout services.
  • mission-specific science platforms (e.g., TIKE).
  • AWS data hosting (e.g., TESS).
Code MAST can host and maintain Python notebooks written by the mission team, covering only how to retrieve or use MAST products. Contributed notebooks must conform to a provided template and style guide.

For other code and software, MAST can link to external GitHub repositories or host code in a "non-runnable" (i.e., not maintained) state.

MAST can:

  • write Python notebooks, such as this tutorial.
  • host and maintain code/notebooks covering other topics, such as processing pipelines.
User support MAST will provide permanent HelpDesk support to the public, for all data that we host. (Already included at no cost)


Note: Priority will be given to new or active missions. Ingestion of years-old missions with non-active teams will be considered as circumstances and time allow.