NASA has accepted ownership of its newest Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) from Boeing after successfully completing in orbit testing. TDRS-K, will be renamed TDRS-11 upon entry into service.
“This is a major step in replenishing an aging TDRS fleet which is essential in providing communications to support space exploration,” said Badri Younes, deputy associate administrator for Space Communications and Navigation at NASA Headquarters. “We look forward to the launch of two additional satellites in the next few years to complete the replenishment program.”
The TDRS fleet provides communications support to an array of science missions, as well as several launch vehicles. The network has provided critical real-time communication with NASA’s human spaceflights since early in the Space Shuttle Program. TDRS network operations continue to provide support for International Space Station activities.
“The acceptance of this spacecraft is the result of many years of hard work by dedicated team members at NASA and Boeing,” said Jeffrey Gramling, TDRS project manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
“This next generation of spacecraft ensure network continuity for at least another decade.”
Goddard is home to the TDRS Project Office, which is responsible for the development and launch of the communication satellites. The Boeing Company headquartered in Chicago, Ill., is the private contractor for the TDRS K, L and M satellites. TDRS is the space element of NASA’s Space Network, providing the critical communication lifeline for NASA missions. NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation Program, part of the Human Exploration and
Operations Mission Directorate at the agency’s Headquarters in Washington, is responsible for NASA’s Space Network.