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Submitting Data

Submitting Data to the Space Physics Data Facility (SPDF)


For non-solar missions, instruments and other data-producing work funded by the NASA Heliophysics program, archiving the resulting science data is a charter responsibility of the SPDF. We prefer but may not require data to be supplied in a self-describing format (typically CDF or netCDF) and following the ISTP/IACG Guidelines for data organization and standard metadata . We need all additional descriptions of the instrument, dataset and processing (particularly algorithms) to make the data fully understandable for long-term and correct use by non-experts. For flight missions and instruments, we prefer to get copies of data as they become public. NASA heliophysics missions are also usually required to work with NASA to create SPASE descriptions of all datasets.


SPDF serves as the NASA Heliophysics active Final Archive for heliospheric, magnetospheric and ITM missions, plus some legacy data from earlier solar missions. 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, preferably calibrated high-time resolution in physical units. We also welcome long-term valid and useful supplemental summary graphics and other products. NASA usually requires archiving lowest level (Level-0) products with SPDF as well. 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 Coordinated Archive (NSSDCA). [NSSDCA is responsible for data only available offline on media until restored and sent to SPDF].

We work directly with all potential data providers to ensure the capture of 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 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 and working documentation 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. 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. NASA heliophysics missions are also usually required to work with NASA to create SPASE descriptions of all datasets.

To discuss or arrange any specific data submission, please contact the SPDF project scientist (Robert Candey,, 301-286-7707) 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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