Great Observatory Maturation Program (GOMAP)

GOMAP Background

The 2020 Astrophysics Decadal Survey, “Pathways to Discovery in Astronomy and Astrophysics for the 2020s” (Astro2020) lays out an ambitious vision for a new fleet of three multi-wavelength Future Great Observatories (FGOs) in space – the first entrant an infrared/optical/ultraviolet observatory, designed to search for life outside the Solar System and perform transformative astrophysics. Astro2020 also recommended NASA establish a “Great Observatories Mission and Technology Maturation Program” before approving a new flagship telescope for formulation.

In response, NASA is implementing Astro2020’s recommendation under the name Great Observatory Maturation Program (GOMAP). GOMAP evolves NASA’s project management strategies by applying past lessons learned to reduce technical/cost/schedule risk and develop large, complex astrophysics space observatories with predictable costs and schedules. Consistent with Astro2020, the first entrant into GOMAP will be the infrared-optical-ultraviolet observatory, designated the Habitable Worlds Observatory (HWO).

GOMAP Activities

GOMAP will focus on several key early activities to ensure flagships, starting with HWO, are developed on a predictable cost and schedule while minimizing risks of overruns. GOMAP’s coordinated activities will ensure the scope of HWO is clearly defined, will advance the technologies that will enable HWO’s ability to deliver on that scope, and will begin to plan additional long-lead activities. A few sets of groups are currently being formed to help guide these activities including: a Science, Technology, Architecture Review Team (START) and a series of Technology Development Roadmap Working Groups. We are currently soliciting self-nominations for the START, and will accept nominations until June 5, 2023. Details on the START and the self-nomination process are contained in a Dear Colleague Letter and a Terms of Reference for the START, which can be found below.


Additional planned and future activities will also reduce cost and schedule risk. NASA is currently assessing options to start separate groups to guide those efforts. Please stay tuned to this website for more information on those activities. We will update this page with more information on these groups as it becomes available.