Boeing has received the first on-orbit signals from the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS)-L after a successful launch Jan. 23, bolstering the tracking and communications network used by NASA and its customers.
TDRS-L is the fifth Boeing-built satellite to join the network that NASA uses in support of vital missions, including the International Space Station, studying Earth’s changing climate and looking into deep space with the Hubble Telescope. TDRS satellites relay signals to and from Earth and the International Space Station and other space assets.
“This advanced satellite is an important part of NASA’s critical communications relay network and will improve capacity and enhance bandwidth at the lowest cost,” said Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space & Intelligence Systems.
The satellite launched on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V vehicle today at 9:33 p.m. Eastern time from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. Controllers at the Boeing Mission Control Center confirmed initial contact with it one hours and 54 minutes later. After reaching final orbit, TDRS-L will undergo approximately three months of tests and calibration before its handover to NASA.
TDRS-L joins four other Boeing TDRS satellites in NASA’s network. It is the second of three advanced versions of the satellites, with the third – TDRS-M – ready for launch in 2015.
Boeing has been providing vital space communication services to NASA for more than four decades.