When it comes to furthering innovation in space and technology, Cepollina wants to keep 'pushing the technology.' "In the end, we will be doing satellite servicing on Mars. There's no doubt," predicts Cepollina. "This technology allows us to maximize scientific return on investment."Cepollina began his work on the Hubble Space Telescope in the mid-1970s by aiding in its modular instrument design and scientific command and control subsystem. Later he directed the design of the generic servicing platforms and instrument carriers used on Hubble and many other NASA spacecraft. Cepollina has been contributing to Hubble's astronaut interfaces and power tools since the inception of the Shuttle Program.
In December 1993, Cepollina led the repair of the Hubble Space Telescope, which restored Hubble's vision and NASA's reputation. He also led his team in three additional servicing and upgrade missions to Hubble in 1997, 1999 and 2001. Each of these missions added instruments, advances and improvements not available when it was launched in 1990.
Not only has Cepollina's work benefited the advancement of space technology, but it has also led to improvements in several other industries including a much more accurate method to detect breast cancer that uses technology originally developed for Hubble's charge coupled device (CCD). Other improvements are smaller and faster microchips created with highly sophisticated Hubble-type optics, and manufacturing applications employing an intelligent, programmable, hand-held power tool.
Cepollina is the manager of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope Development Project at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. He graduated from the University of Santa Clara in 1959 with a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering. Prior to joining NASA in 1963, Cepollina worked for four years at the Aerojet General Corporation and the Defense Intelligence Agency.
Among his numerous awards, Cepollina received the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal for the Hubble Space Telescope First Servicing Mission, the prestigious National Space Club Eagle Manned Mission Success Award, and the Goddard Space Flight Center's highest honor for mission success, the Robert C. Baumann Memorial Award. In 2000, the President of the United States conferred upon Cepollina the rank of Meritorious Executive in Senior Executive Service for his outstanding accomplishments in managing NASA programs.