NASA has received a new employee: a dragon! His name is Firewing and he's there to help NASA with its missions. He's not an astronaut himself, mainly because of the logistical issues of launching a dragon into space (and because NASA knows that if they did that they might as well close up shop because nothing they could do would be more awesome than launching a dragon into space). He's also not some genius scientist so he won't be squeezing himself into the LCC to oversee launches or crunching numbers somewhere else at the KSC. Instead, Firewing's going to use his superior physical abilities to help NASA. He's got the following abilities:
- He's about as big as Smaug.
- He can fly as fast as the Space Shuttle and can keep this up for quite a while.
- His flight ceiling is 37,000 ft, the equivalent of Rüppell's vulture.
- He's capable of carrying the equivalent of a fully loaded (fueled + cargo, though not with any ETs) Space Shuttle without a loss of speed. Any higher cargo load will dramatically influence his speed.
- He can grab onto spacecraft without damaging them and knows how to catch something that's falling without having it rip in half due to the forces involved. Meanwhile, he's capable of picking up people without the threat of accidentally crushing them.
- He can be exposed to the heat, light and gas emissions from any engine without suffering any negative effects (though he'd rather not have physical contact with any of those for a prolonged amount of time).
- NASA developed a communication device that fits over his head which allows two-way communication between him and the LCC (or whatever the device's dialed to).
- He understands the briefings that NASA give him and the directions he receives mid-mission. Additionally, he's intelligent enough to improvise on the fly in case things go wrong.
- His fire is about as hot and long as the flame from a Space Shuttle External Tank. Note that this does not generate backwards thrust.
- His diet and accommodations are taken care of.
Note that Firewing would be willing to help with testing things and running trials instead of actual space missions, but he is very much opposed to serving as a guinea pig with tests run on him and would rather not serve PR purposes (but filming him while he's working is fine).
As you can see, Firewing is not capable of launching a Space Shuttle (or its equivalent) on his own, but he might be able to do other things. What kind of jobs would be be best suited for?