The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) Apollon-Soyuz) was the last mission in the Apollo program and was the first joint flight of the U.S.A. And Soviet space programmes. The mission took place in July 1975. For the United States of America, it was the last Apollo flight, as well as the last manned space launch until the flight of the first Space Shuttle in April 1981.
Though the Test Project included several scientific missions (including an engineered eclipse of the Sun by Apollo for Soyuz to take photographs of the solar corona), and provided engineering information on the synchronization of American and Soviet space technology that would prove useful in the future Shuttle-Mir Programme, the primary purpose of the mission was symbolic. Apollo-Soyuz Test Project was seen as a symbol of the policy of detente détente that the two superpowers were beginning to adopt at the time, and as a fitting end to the tension of the Space Race.
At the time of the launch, Tecwyn was the Director of Network Engineering at Goddard Space Flight Centre, responsible for ensuring that contact was maintained between the orbiting spacecraft.
This was to be Tecwyn’s last direct involvement with any U.S. manned space flights.
The 29 September 1980 edition of Goddard News reported the following: -
“R. E. Smylie [Robert Edwin Smylie] (left) presents the certificate to Tecwyn Roberts, recipient of a Distinguished Service Award.
For the past 15 years Mr. Tecwyn Roberts has been Director and Manager of the Goddard Space night Center’s global tracking and communications network supporting NASA manned and unmanned low earth orbiting flight programs. He exemplified the finest management styles and techniques in the direction of the large and complex technical organization required to direct this activity.
Mr. Roberts led the engineering effort that resulted in the highly successful Manned Space Flight Network support critical to the early Apollo lunar missions. He then exhibited a spectrum of engineering, operations, and management talents as he played the leading role in conceiving, developing and successfully managing the operations of the Spaceflight Tracking and Data Network.
Under his direction, the Network has successfully supported major flight projects such as Apollo, Skylab, Landsat, Nimbus, ISEE, and IUE, to name a few.
The global nature of the Network requires heavy involvement with foreign and other US. governmental agencies. Mr. Roberts’ skill in working and negotiating with these diverse groups has resulted in his reputation for fairness, objectivity, and integrity while at the same time insuring that the best interests of NASA are maintained.”
Robert Edwin Smylie (left) presents Distinguished Service Award Certificate to Tecwyn Roberts.
The September 1976 edition of Goddard News reported the following: -
“GODDARD DIRECTOR AND TRACKING NETWORK DIRECTOR NAMED AAS FELLOW
Dr. Robert S. Cooper, Director of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., and Tecwyn ‘Tec’ Roberts have been elected Fellows of the American Astronautical Society and presented to the membership at a Mayflower Hotel banquet in Washington, D.C. October 7th.
As two of 12 persons elected as AAS Fellows this year, they join a select group which the AAS says, “comprises the highest ranking members of the Society. This level of membership is conferred in recognition of the recipient’s significant contributions to astronautics.”
As Director of Networks since 1972, Mr. Roberts is responsible for the operation of the tracking and communications networks used in support for both manned and unmanned spacecraft projects.
He joined the Goddard staff in July of 1964 and was for 7 years Chief of Goddard’s Manned Flight Engineering Division before taking his present job. His experience in manned flight dates back to 1959 when he joined NASA to work on the Mercury Program at the Langley Research Center and then the Gemini and Apollo programs, starting in 1962, at the Houston Mannned Spacecraft Center.
Prior to joining NASA, Mr. Roberts was employed by Saunders Roe Ltd. of England and Avro Aircraft of Canada. He was educated at the Beaumaris Grammer School, Southampton University and the Isle of Wight Technical College. While at the latter college, he received in 1948 a Higher National Certificate in Aeronautical Engineering.”