Boeing has completed, and delivered to storage, the last in a series of satellites for NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) constellation. TDRS-M is the sixth Boeing-built satellite for the NASA network providing high-bandwidth communications to spacecraft in low Earth orbit. Programs using the system include those supporting human space flight, the International Space Station, the Hubble Space Telescope, the Earth Observing System and several launch vehicles.
This is the second block of Boeing-built TDRS spacecraft. The company delivered the first three (TDRS-H, TDRS-I and TDRS-J) in 2000-2002. The first two satellites of the second block (TDRS-K and TDRS-L) were launched in 2013 and 2014. The last satellite, TDRS-M, was completed ahead of the contract schedule and within budget at the end of 2015.
«Boeing’s advanced TDRS satellites provide NASA with greater bandwidth at an affordable cost, helping them provide additional capacity for this critical communications relay network», said Dan Hart, vice president, Boeing Government Satellite Systems. «We are continuing to invest in technologies that could enable communications for future NASA near-Earth, moon, Mars and deep space missions».
NASA has given Boeing its formal «consent to store» the satellite at Boeing’s Satellite Development Center in El Segundo, California, until it’s ready for deployment. TDRS-M is expected to launch on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket in 2017.
Boeing has provided space communication services to NASA for more than 40 years, and has been NASA’s sole provider of tracking and data relay satellites since 1995.
Boeing and its heritage companies have been advancing satellite technology for more than 50 years. Continuing investments in space are helping the company retain its industry leadership as it begins its second century in 2016.