EL SEGUNDO, Calif.– Boeing has completed, and delivered to storage, the last in a series of satellites for NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite 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, -I and –J) in 2000-2002. The first two satellites of the second block (TDRS-K and –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, Calif., until it’s ready for deployment. TDRS-M is expected to launch on a United Launch Alliance 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.