Sciences and Exploration Directorate

David A Sheppard


David A Sheppard's Contact Card & Information.
Phone: 301.286.6539
Org Code: 564
Mail Code 695
Greenbelt, MD 20771

Brief Bio

Dave Sheppard is the lead engineer in the Planetary Magnetospheres Laboratory of the Solar System Exploration Division at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. His research is focused on the development of high-reliability radiation-tolerant instrumentation systems for space research.

In Planetary Magnetospheres, he has worked with MAG team members on the design, build, test, calibration, and in-flight operations of NASA's Juno, Van Allen Probes, MAVEN, Parker Solar Probe, and GOES-18 missions. Instruments for ESCAPADE, GOES-U, GTOSat, and three magnetometers for lunar landers (LLMAG, LMS, LuSEE) are currently in development and test. Prior to magnetometry, he worked in Goddard's Laboratory for High Energy Astrophysics on multiple flight missions.

Dave received a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park, a MS in Electrical Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University, and finally a second MS in Computer Science, also from JHU.


Lead Engineer, Planetary Magnetospheres

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Solar System Exploration Division, Planetary Magnetospheres (Code 695) - Space Sciences Building, B34, room C185

1988 - Present


Escape and Plasma Acceleration and Dynamics Explorers (ESCAPADE), Lead magnetometer engineer, 2022 - present

Lunar Surface Electromagnetics Experiment Magnetometer (LuSEE), Lead magnetometer engineer, 2020 - present

Lunar Magnetotelluric Sounder Magnetometer (LMS), Lead magnetometer engineer, 2020 - present

Lunar Lander Magnetometer (LLMAG), Lead magnetometer engineer, 2019 - present

GTOSat Magnetometer (MAG), Lead magnetometer engineer, 2018 - present

GOES-T, U Magnetometers (GMAG), Lead magnetometer engineer, 2016 - present

Parker Solar Probe (PSP), Lead magnetometer engineer, 2012 - present

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN), Lead magnetometer engineer, 2011 - present

Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP), Magnetometer engineer, 2008 - 2019

Juno Magnetometer (MAG), Magnetometer engineer, 2007 - present

Curiosity Surface Analysis at Mars (SAM), Mass Spectrometer, Motor Controller Lead Engineer, 2005 - 2008

Fermi LAT Anti-Coincidence Detector (ACD), Lead Electrical Engineer, 2000 - 2005

Swift Block Command and Data Handler (BCDH), Digital engineer, 1999 - 2004

Mars Odyssey Gamma-Ray Spectrometer (GRS), Analog engineer, 1997 - 2001 (NASA GSFC)

Positron-Electron Mass Spectrometer, Electrical Engineer, 1996 - 1997 (Swales)

MARS-96 Gamma-Ray Burst Monitor (GRBM), Digital Engineer, 1995 - 1996 (Swales)

WIND Transient Gamma-Ray Spectrometer (TGRS), Analog Engineer, 1992 - 1994 (Lockheed Martin)

X-Ray Timing Explorer (XTE), Analog Engineer and Test Conductor, 1991 - 1994 (Lockheed Martin)

STS-35 Broad Band X-Ray Telescope (BBXRT), Test Conductor, 1988 - 1991 (Fairchild Space Company)

International Space Station (ISS), Database Programmer, 1986 - 1988 (Computer Technology Associates)

Current Projects

ESCAPADE Magnetometers


We are currently building two magnetometers to fly on the twin Mars orbiters on the ESCAPADE (Escape and Plasma Acceleration and Dynamics Explorers) mission. These instruments will measure the structure, composition, variability, and dynamics of Mars' hybrid magnetosphere and how it guides ion flows.

GTOSat Magnetometer

Earth's Magnetosphere

We have developed a miniaturized fluxgate magnetometer that will fly on the GTOSat CubeSat mission. This mission will continue the characterization of the Earth's magnetosphere.

Lunar Lander Magnetometers (LMS, LuSEE, LLMAG)


We are have developed three magnetometers for inclusion on upcoming lunar lander missions. The LLMAG magnetometer will fly on the Astrobotic lander to Lacus Mortis. The LMS magnetometer will fly to Mare Crisium as part of a magnetotelluric sounding package. The LuSEE magnetometer will fly to the Schrödinger crater near the southern pole as part of an EM suite.

Parker Solar Probe Fluxgate Magnetometers (MAG)

Inner Heliosphere

We have built two fluxgate magnetometers that are part of the FIELDS instrument suite on Parker Solar Probe (PSP). PSP is a mission that flies into the Sun's corona. One primary scientific goals is to understand how the Sun's corona is heated, tracing the flow of energy that heats and accelerates the solar corona and the solar wind. A second goal is to determine the structure and dynamics of the plasma and magnetic fields at the sources of the solar wind (to within < 10 solar radii). The major third science goal is to explore the mechanisms that accelerate and transport energetic particles. The FIELDS experiment is making direct measurements of electric and magnetic fields, radio emissions, and shock waves. The GSFC fluxgate magnetometers (MAG) are one component of the FIELDS experiment and will measure the DC and low frequency magnetic fields as vectors (DC to ~ 100 Hz). There are two nearly identical fluxgate magnetometers in the FIELDS suite. The PSP MAGs have strong heritage with greater than 70 spaceflight missions for GSFC fluxgates since 1966.


MS (Electrical Engineering, Honors), 2002, Johns Hopkins University
MS (Computer Science, Honors), 2015, Johns Hopkins University
BS (Electrical Engineering), 1987, University of Maryland at College Park


2023: GSFC Engineering and Technology Directorate Excellence Award for Product Design Lead

2019: NASA Silver Achievement Medal, Parker Solar Probe Team

2015: NASA Exceptional Engineering Achievement Medal

2002: AETD Science and Technology Advancement Award

1996, 2004, 2012: Laboratory Peer Awards



2021. "A magnetotelluric instrument for probing the interiors of Europa and other worlds." Advances in Space Research 68 (4): 2022-2037 [10.1016/j.asr.2021.04.011] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "A Merged Search‐Coil and Fluxgate Magnetometer Data Product for Parker Solar Probe FIELDS." Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics 125 (5): [10.1029/2020ja027813] [Journal Article/Letter]

2017. "The Juno Magnetic Field Investigation." Space Science Reviews [10.1007/s11214-017-0334-z] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "The FIELDS Instrument Suite for Solar Probe Plus." Space Science Reviews 204 (1-4): 49-82 [10.1007/s11214-016-0244-5] [Journal Article/Letter]

2015. "The MAVEN Magnetic Field Investigation." Space Science Reviews 195 257-291 [10.1007/s11214-015-0169-4] [Journal Article/Letter]

2013. "The Electric and Magnetic Field Instrument Suite and Integrated Science (EMFISIS) on RBSP." Space Science Reviews 179 (1-4): 127-181 [10.1007/s11214-013-9993-6] [Journal Article/Letter]

2012. "The Sample Analysis at Mars Investigation and Instrument Suite." Space Sci Rev 170 (1-4): 401-478 [10.1007/s11214-012-9879-z] [Journal Article/Letter]

2009. "Novel Fault Tolerant Robotic System for Mars Rover." European Space Mechanisms and Tribology Symposium 13 [Full Text] [Proceedings]

2007. "The anti-coincidence detector for the GLAST large area telescope." Astroparticle Physics 27 339 [Full Text] [10.1016/j.astropartphys.2006.12.003] [Journal Article/Letter]

2002. "Gamma-ray Large-Area Space Telescope (GLAST) balloon flight engineering model: overview." IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science, vol 49, issue 4, pp 1898-1903 49 1898 [Full Text] [10.1109/TNS.2002.801548] [Journal Article/Letter]

1999. "Long-term radiation damage to a spaceborne germanium spectrometer." Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment 431 (1-2): 141-147 [10.1016/s0168-9002(99)00283-1] [Journal Article/Letter]

1996. "Burstman: A portable GRB detector for really long voyages." AIP Conference Proceedings 384 (1): [10.1063/1.51601] [Proceedings]

1995. "A high-resolution Ge spectrometer for Gamma-Ray burst astronomy." Space Science Reviews 71 (1-4): 273-296 [10.1007/bf00751333] [Journal Article/Letter]

1994. "High speed data acquisition system for large area proportional counters." IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science 41 (4): 1304-1308 [10.1109/23.322904] [Journal Article/Letter]

1993. "The transient gamma-ray spectrometer: A new high resolution detector for gamma-ray burst spectroscopy." American Institue of Physics [10.1063/1.44147] [Proceedings]