Sciences and Exploration Directorate

Craig B Markwardt


Craig B Markwardt's Contact Card & Information.
Phone: 301.286.1506
Org Code: 662
Mail Code 662
Greenbelt, MD 20771

Brief Bio

Dr. Craig Markwardt has been a research scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center since 1997. He is currently the Principal Investigator for the Swift Burst Alert Telescope (BAT) on board the Niel Gehrels Swift Observatory, as well as the Calibration and Science Data Lead for the Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) on board the International Space Station. For Swift, Markwardt oversees the activities of the Goddard BAT group, including the 15-150 keV hard X-ray survey and long term monitoring light curves in that band. For NICER, he leads both the calibration and science data task areas. Markwardt implemented the NICER pre-launch and in-flight calibration efforts. In addition, Markwardt designed and implemented the ground science software tools and data processing pipeline, which delivers thousands of completed NICER observations to the HEASARC archive per year.

He first worked with Jean Swank of the RXTE PCA project, on the studies of X-ray binaries. He has studied millisecond X-ray pulsars, accreting black hole microquasars, and has performed long term monitoring of the galactic center with the PCA instrument. Since 2001, he as also worked on the development and flight of the BAT instrument aboard the Swift gamma-ray burst mission. In addition to developing ground software for burst work, Markwardt has been using BAT survey data, both to continue X-ray binary work, and to search for faint active galactic nuclei. In 2009, Markwardt joined the GEMS project team and is excited to open a new frontier in the systematic study of X-ray polarimetry. 

Research Interests


Astrophysics: X-ray Astrophysics

  • NICER Calibration and Science Data Lead
  • Swift Burst Alert Telescope (BAT) Principal Investigator
  • Instrument calibration
  • High frequency time series analysis;

Current Projects

Swift BAT Programmatic Work

Technology & Missions

  • Swift BAT Principal Investigator
  • Instrument health, safety and operations
  • Team leadership and oversight
  • Swift BAT ground software
  • Swift data processing scripts and documentation.
  • Swift BAT hard X-ray survey analysis


Technology & Missions

  • Calibration lead
  • Pre-launch calibration plans
  • In-flight calibration observations, analysis and design
  • Science data lead
  • Data format design
  • Science data processing tools design and implementation
  • Science data pipeline design and implementation
  • Science data pipeline operation lead

Swift BAT All-Sky Survey

Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN)

  • Swift BAT survey of the hard X-ray sky (14-200 keV).
  • Detection and characterization of hundreds of extragalactic AGN; comparison of obscured and unobscured systems.
  • Characterization of galactic hard X-ray sources.

RXTE PCA Project Science

X-ray Binaries & CVs

  • RXTE PCA studies of millisecond X-ray pulsars
  • RXTE PCA monitoring of the galactic bulge (please see the PCA Bulge Monitoring page).
  • Follow-up of transient X-ray sources

RXTE PCA Programmatic Work

Technology & Missions

  • Production of RXTE PCA background models for the community. Please see the PCA Team Page for more information.
  • RXTE PCA software
  • RXTE Timing calibration


Research Astrophysicist

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center - Greenbelt, MD

July 2010 - Present

  • GEMS SOC Manager
  • Swift BAT Team Member
  • RXTE PCA Team Member

Assistant Research Scientist

University of Maryland - NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD

September 1999 - July 2010

  • GEMS SOC Manager
  • Swift BAT Team Member
  • RXTE PCA Team Member

Resident Research Associate

National Research Council - NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD

August 1997 - September 1999

  • RXTE PCA Team Member


  • Ph.D. Physics, August 1997,University of Wisconsin --- Madison
    Professor Hakki Ogelman, advisor.
    Thesis: "The Wind Interaction Regions of the Vela Pulsar: a Pulsar Jet and Bow Shock Nebula"
  • B.S. Physics, June 1992, Stanford University


NASA Robert H. Goddard Award for Exceptional Achievement in Engineering, September, 2008, Greenbelt, MD

NASA Space Science Achievement Award, July 2003, Greenbelt, MD