Press Release

TDRS-I Satellte Arrives at KSC to Begin Launch Preparations

By SpaceRef Editor
February 4, 2002
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The Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-I (TDRS-I) arrived today at KSC’s Shuttle Landing Facility aboard an Air Force C-17 air cargo plane. It was offloaded and taken to the Spacecraft Assembly and Encapsulation Facility-2 (SAEF-2) at the Kennedy Space Center.

TDRS-I is the second in a new series of three Tracking and Data Relay Satellites designed to replenish the existing on-orbit fleet of six spacecraft, the first of which was launched in 1983. The Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System is the primary source of space-to-ground voice, data and telemetry for the Space Shuttle. It also provides communications with the International Space Station and scientific spacecraft in low earth orbit such as the Hubble Space Telescope. This new advanced series of satellites will extend the availability of TDRS communications services until approximately 2017.

This generation of TDRS satellites adds Ka-band capability to the TDRS fleet allowing for higher data rates using a more favorable and less heavily used frequency band. The first satellite in the current series, TDRS-H, was launched in June 2000. TDRS-J, the third satellite, is planned for launch late this year.

TDRS-I weighs 3,338 pounds, but at launch will weigh 7,031 pounds when fully fueled with its propellants consisting of monomethyl hydrazine fuel and nitrogen tetroxide oxidizer. The solar arrays when deployed will supply the spacecraft with up to 2,200 watts of power.

Once at SAEF2, TDRS-I will undergo a series of electrical tests lasting about one week. That will be followed by two days of propulsion system leak checks. Three days of fueling activities begin on Feb. 13. Spacecraft closeouts then occur followed by mating TDRS-I to the Atlas payload adapter. The activities to encapsulate the spacecraft into the Atlas payload fairing begin Feb. 19.

On Feb. 25, TDRS-I will be transported to Space Launch Complex 36 and mated to the Lockheed Martin Atlas IIA launch vehicle. This is to be followed by a combined electrical readiness test, an integrated test between the spacecraft and the Atlas. The spacecraft batteries will then receive a final charge in preparation for launch and a spacecraft functional will be performed. The spacecraft is then placed in its launch configuration as the final flight readiness activity.

The TDRS-I spacecraft is built for NASA by Boeing Satellite Systems of El Segundo, Calif. The TDRS project is managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt , Md. Launch vehicle technical oversight, mission integration, and launch countdown management are by NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

TDRS-I is currently scheduled to be launched into geosynchronous- transfer orbit aboard a Lockheed Martin Atlas IIA rocket from Pad 36-A on March 8, 2002. The launch window extends from 5:39 to 6:19 p.m. EST.

The on-orbit TDRS network will transmit data on the second Centaur upper stage burn and TDRS-I spacecraft separation.

SpaceRef staff editor.