EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Two Boeing Tracking and Data Relay Satellites have completed testing milestones – one in space and the other on Earth – marking more progress in enhancing the tracking and communications network used by NASA and its customers.
The orbiting TDRS-K satellite has completed all testing since its January launch and has officially been handed over to NASA, providing another vital information link between low-Earth-orbiting spacecraft and NASA’s satellite control centers.
The next satellite in the program, TDRS-L, completed performance testing at the Boeing satellite facility in El Segundo, Calif., and is ready for shipment to Kennedy Space Center, Fla., later this year in advance of a 2014 launch.
TDRS-K and TDRS-L are the first two of a set of three next-generation satellites that features improved payload capacity and enhanced communications bandwidth at the lowest cost.
“These state-of-the-art satellites represent a major step forward in improving high-resolution image, video, voice and data transmission,” said Craig Cooning, Boeing Space & Intelligence Systems vice president and general manager.
The third satellite in the series, TDRS-M, completed a critical design review with NASA and is now in the production phase and available for launch in 2015. Boeing built the previous set of three TDRS satellites – H, I and J – which have been in use since 2000 and 2002.