Shuttle Era Concludes: Goddard has Always Been There
Released on June 28, 2011
Goddard Space Flight Center has supported every shuttle mission providing tracking, data and voice communications. Goddard has also flown aboard with missions to the Hubble Space Telescope, the Shuttle Small Payloads Project and most recently the Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM). Goddard's hardware flew on over 75 percent of the 135 shuttle missions.
Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) has been a strong partner for many shuttle missions and this last voyage is no different. During STS-135, Atlantis will deliver an external experiment to the International Space Station designed to demonstrate and test tools, techniques needed to robotically refuel existing satellites. This joint effort with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) will be the first on-orbit attempt to test robotic refueling techniques for spacecrafts not built with servicing in mind. This work is expected to reduce and lay the founcation for future robotic servicing missions.
America has seen NASA land on the moon, fix the Hubble Space Telescope and roam on Mars' landscape—but they have yet to see NASA robotically refuel and repair a satellite that was never designed to be serviced in space. The Robotic Refueling Mission is the first step to making routine robotic refueling on orbit a reality.