NASA Ames Research Center (ARC) is a NASA facility located at Moffett Federal Airfield, which covers 43 acres at the borders of the cities of Mountain View and Sunnyvale in California. This research center is most commonly called NASA Ames. The current NASA Ames Center Director is Dr. Pete Worden.
ARC was founded on December 20, 1939 as the second laboratory of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), and moved to NASA in 1958. The Sunnyvale site at Moffett Field was selected in October 1939 by the Charles Lindbergh Committee established by an act of the U.S. Congress in August 1939. The Ames Aeronautical Laboratory (now the Ames Research Center) was named after Joseph Sweetman Ames a longtime (1919-1939) NACA chairman.
The Pioneer Spacecraft Missions are a series of eight spacecraft missions managed (1960s - 1990s) by the Pioneer Project Office at NASA Ames Research Center. The most famous of these are the Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 unmanned spacecraft, which were the first human-made objects to leave the solar system. Pioneer Venus was another in the series that was also tremendously successful.
ARC is active in aeronautical research, life sciences, space science, and technology research, especially information technology, including machine learning and artificial intelligence. The Center houses the world's largest wind tunnel, part of the National Full-Scale Aerodynamic Complex (NFAC): it is large enough to test full-sized planes, rather than scale models. Although decommissioned by NASA in 2003, the NFAC is now being operated by the U. S. Air Force as a satellite facility of the Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC).
ARC is also a mission center for several key NASA Science missions (LCROSS, SOFIA, KEPLER) and a major contributor to the new Exploration focus of the Agency as a participant in the Orion crew exploration vehicle, and the Ares crew launch vehicle.
The buildings at Moffett Field consist of those belonging to NASA proper, including the wind tunnels and other core research facilities, as well as an academic research park intended to foster collaborations with universities. Members of this Ames campus include Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley, the University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) (administered by the University of California, Santa Cruz), the SJSU Metropolitan Technology Center (part of San Jose State University), and The Space Technology Center (STC) (managed by San Jose State University).