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Biography: Royce Renfrew

Royce RenfrewTITLE: International Space Station Robotics Mission Controller.

BIRTHPLACE AND DATE: Born May 5, 1962, in Riverton, Wyoming.

EDUCATION: Graduated from Marble Falls High School, Marble Falls, Texas in 1980; received a bachelor of science in Computer Science from Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas in 1985; and a bachelor of arts in History from Trinity University in 1989 with Texas Secondary Teaching certifications in Mathematics, Computer Science and History; Masters work at Texas A&M; University in College Station, Texas in Educational Technology (not complete).

RESIDENCE: Friendswood, Texas.

MARITAL STATUS: Married to the former Vanessa K. Stringham, Boerne, Texas.

CHILDREN: Erica, May 11, 1995.


  • Hang the Plaque award, ISS 8A mission, April 2002.
  • United Space Alliance Superior Achievement Recognition Award (SARA), Teamwork, 2002.
  • United Space Alliance Employee of the Month, Teamwork, October 2002.
  • JSC Group Achievement Award, 8A Robotics Team, May 2002.
  • JSC Certificate of Appreciation (individual) for ISS 8A, May 2002.
  • JSC Group Achievement Award, SSRMS Anomaly Resolution Team, August 2001.
  • Engineering Directorate: Automation, Robotics and Simulation Division: Superior Assistance Award, September 1999.
  • United Space Alliance Employee of the Month, Technical Achievement, March 1999.


  • 1980–1989 Mr. Renfrew was a heavy equipment operator (in particular, cranes) and foreman for Clearwater Construction, Inc and others for several construction projects. Major projects included a dam near Georgetown, Texas; a Hotel in Austin, Texas; The Congress Avenue bridge expansion in Austin, Texas; a natural gas refinery near La Grange, Texas; the HWY 71 Bridge across Lake Travis in Texas and several road construction projects in San Antonio, Texas. In Mr. Renfrew’s last construction project, he was Assistant Superintendent during construction of the Naval Home Port near Corpus Christi, Texas.
  • 1989–1996 Mr. Renfrew was a High School Mathematics, Computer Science, and History classroom teacher at various schools in Texas.
  • 1996–2001 Mr. Renfrew began work at the Johnson Space Center as a Mechanical and Robotics Systems Instructor. Mr. Renfrew was the second ever-certified Increment Specific Robotics Instructor and worked with the Increment Two crew who were the first ISS crew trained to operate the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS). Increment Two saw delivery of the SSRMS to Station, the activation, and initial checkout of that arm. They also handled the first ever payload (the Station Airlock) using the SSRMS. Mr. Renfrew’s duties as one of their Robotics instructors included definition and execution of the simulator lessons that trained the crew on the use of that new Robotic System to perform those tasks.
  • 2001–2003 Mr. Renfrew worked as an International Space Station Robotics Officer (ROBO) performing flight planning and real time support of Robotics Activities. Flight planning responsibilities include designation as the ROBO flight lead for Missions ISS 8A and ISS 13A.1. Flight lead is responsible for planning and execution of all Station Robotics activities during a docked Orbiter mission. ISS 8A delivered the first truss element and the Mobile Transporter (MT) to Station. Highlights of the mission included the Station arm handling the largest payload (the S0 truss) to date, the first ever EVA performed off of the Station arm and the first ever translation of the MT. A failure of the Station arm just three weeks prior to launch of the mission forced a complete redesign of the mission, retraining of the crew and extensive modification/testing of Robotics software. Mr. Renfrew led or was intimately involved in all of those activities for which he received several recognition awards post flight. The mission launched on time. ISS 13A.1 will deliver the S5 truss element to Station and will launch sometime in 2005. Mr. Renfrew has also certified as a Payload Deployment and Retrieval System (PDRS) Support officer. PDRS is the equivalent position to ROBO for the Orbiter and the Support position is the first certification in line towards becoming a PDRS front room flight controller. Robotics is one of the very few Mission Controller disciplines that can have current certifications in both the Station and Shuttle programs.
  • Current Assignment Mr. Renfrew is an International Space Station Robotics Officer (ROBO). For real time support, ROBO is located in the ISS Flight Control Room (FCR) and is responsible for the ISS Robotics system. Real time responsibilities include managing a team of Robotics mission controllers located in the Robotics Multi-Purpose Support Room (MPSR); commanding the Robotics system on the ISS; monitoring and reacting to down-linked telemetry about the state of the Robotics system; following and reacting to crew executed procedures; trouble shooting system anomalies; being the Robotics point of contact for the Station Flight Control Team (FCT) and the point of contact for the engineering support provided by the ISS Mission Evaluation Room (MER). Other non real time duties include managing a team of Robotics Mission Controllers in creation and verification of procedures to satisfy Station program objectives such as Station assembly, Extravehicular Activity (EVA) support, Station surveys or crew proficiency.

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