Spaceflight Insider

New launch date for TDRS-M after bump to satellite causes bumped schedule

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — After an “incident” during close-out activities damaged the Omni S-band antenna and put a hold on launch plans, United Launch Alliance (ULA) is targeting a new launch date for NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS)-M communications satellite.

Pending approval from the Eastern Range, an Atlas V 401 is now planned to lift off during a 40-minute launch window that opens at 7:56 a.m. EDT (11:56 GMT) on August 20, 2017, delivering the satellite to a geosynchronous transfer orbit.

The TDRS series of satellites ensures NASA is able to maintain constant communications with lower-orbiting spacecraft like the Hubble Space Telescope and International Space Station. The satellite network also provides a significant amount of bandwidth to many low-Earth orbit (LEO) intelligence-gathering satellites.

The new launch date will give engineers time to replace the damaged antenna on the Boeing-built spacecraft. TDRS-M, which will be renamed TDRS-13 after becoming operational, will be the last of three third-generation spacecraft of the TDRS line to be launched.

Video courtesy of NASA Goddard



Curt Godwin has been a fan of space exploration for as long as he can remember, keeping his eyes to the skies from an early age. Initially majoring in Nuclear Engineering, Curt later decided that computers would be a more interesting - and safer - career field. He's worked in education technology for more than 20 years, and has been published in industry and peer journals, and is a respected authority on wireless network engineering. Throughout this period of his life, he maintained his love for all things space and has written about his experiences at a variety of NASA events, both on his personal blog and as a freelance media representative.

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