Spaceflight Insider

TDRS-M spacecraft damaged during closeout activities

TITUSVILLE, Fla. — During closeout activities for the final third-generation Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-M), an “incident” occurred to the spacecraft’s Omni S-band antenna. This occurred on Friday, July 14, about two-and-a-half weeks prior to the satellite’s scheduled launch.

Both NASA and the satellite’s manufacturer, Boeing, are reviewing what happened at the Astrotech Space Operations building in Titusville, Florida, where the satellite was being readied for flight.

TDRS-M, which will be renamed TDRS-13 upon reaching orbit, was set to launch atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41 in Florida on August 3.

At present, it is unclear if this incident will impact the planned launch date with a recent statement on NASA’s TDRS-M Status Update page noting: “The mission team is developing a plan to assess flight acceptance and the schedule forward.”



Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology,, The Mars Society and Universe Today.

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