During the most recent shuttle mission (STS-118), NASA used Space Shuttle Endeavour’s Boeing-built Station-Shuttle Power Transfer System (SSPTS) for the first time to extend a shuttle mission. NASA extended the STS-118 mission by three days and added a fourth spacewalk with the successful activation of the SSPTS. NASA cut the mission short, however, due to the threat of Hurricane Dean.
SSPTS allows the International Space Station to power shuttle orbiters using its solar arrays, enabling crew members to conduct additional science activities and unload added cargo. With the shuttle fleet retiring in 2010, the SPPTS will allow NASA to complete more work on the space station without scheduling additional missions. Boeing and NASA have also modified Space Shuttle Discovery with the SSPTS.