Optical Astronomy Observatories (NOAO) are the only federally
funded research and development center (FFRDC) in Arizona.
FFRDCs are government-owned facilities which, unlike government
labs, are operated and managed under contract either by universities,
industrial firms, or nonprofit organizations to conduct R&D
for the federal government.
is run by the Association of Universities for Research in
Astronomy Inc. (AURA) and is funded by NSF, receiving $29
million for R&D in FY 1995, and an additional $41 million
for facilities support. NOAO, although headquartered in Tucson,
includes observation sites in several different places, both
in the United States and abroad. One of these sites, the Kitt
Peak National Observatory, is in Arizona. NOAO also operates
the Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory in Chile.