Current and Future Programs
One of the most successful programs for NASA is the Landsat series of satellites. The present version, Landsat-7, is paramount in acquiring images of Earth. It also operates the Earth Observing System, which studies the earth, oceans and atmosphere. The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite provides constant environmental data and weather forecasting.
The most famous project from Goddard is the Hubble Space Telescope, recently refurbished in orbit and ready for a few more years of remarkable observations. The center worked with the European Space Agency, which supplied staff and solar cells, and the Marshall Space Flight Center, which designed and built the satellite, to make the project come to fruition. Goddard's main responsibility was to control the scientific instruments and offer ground control. The Hubble was carried into orbit in April 1990 and despite a series of repairs, has successfully sent over 140,000 images of celestial objects and phenomena back to the Earth.
Launched on June 18, 2009, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is the first mission to the moon in ten years. The orbiter is designed to make a 3D map of the moon's surface as well as perform preliminary work on searching for a site for a new manned mission.
The Solar Dynamics Observatory was launched in February 2010. Its five-year mission will address the need for greater scientific understanding of the Sun-Earth system.
Planned for a launch in 2013, the James Webb Space Telescope is planned to be the successor to the Hubble. It will be an infrared space observatory designed to explore the history of the universe by observing distant objects beyond the reach of present technology.
Above left: Hubble Space Telescope. (Supplied by NASA; Public Domain; http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3f/HST-SM4.jpeg)
Above right: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. (Supplied by NASA; Public Domain; http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/06/LRO_2006.jpg)