By Douglas Messier
Parabolic Arc Managing Editor
The Centaur upper stage, which has been propelling American satellites through space since 1965, is getting a major upgrade that would allow the venerable one-shot booster to perform in a series of new roles.
In the coming decades, upgraded Centaurs will make launching of spacecraft on Atlas V and Delta IV rockets much less expensive. They could also function as reusable space tugs, orbital fuel depots, and landing vehicles that would transport tons of cargo to and from the Moon, Mars and asteroids.