The Columbia, Md.-based Universities Space Research Association (USRA) said April 4 it has been picked by NASA to lead a university team that will conduct Earth and space science investigations at the agency’s Greenbelt, Md.-based Goddard Space Flight Center under a five-year cooperative agreement valued at $95.8 million.

Starting in May, the USRA team will take over the Goddard Earth Sciences Technology and Research (GESTAR) contract from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

USRA’s teammates on the GESTAR program include Morgan State University, the Johns Hopkins University and I.M. System Group.

“What we’re doing is taking over the employment of a hundred-odd scientists working at Goddard under the previous employer,” said Donald Kniffen, USRA’s vice president for science.

The agreement, which will be funded annually at up to $20 million, runs through May 10, 2016, with the possibility of being extended an additional five years.