The sixth and final Boeing Tracking
and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS), launched on Friday, will enhance
NASA’s space communications network when the satellite becomes
fully operational early next year.
TDRS-M is the latest
satellite in NASA’s TDRS constellation and will provide
high-bandwidth communications to spacecraft in low-earth orbit.
The TDRS network enables continuous communication with the
International Space Station, the Hubble Space Telescope, the Earth
Observing System and other programs supporting human space flight.
This is the sixth TDRS satellite Boeing has built for NASA,
the first of which was delivered in 2000.
After reaching its final
orbit, the satellite will undergo testing and checkout before
being declared operational.
“This TDRS-M milestone is
another step forward in Boeing’s commitment to developing
technologies to support future NASA near-earth, moon, Mars and
deep space missions – and to do so affordably, drawing on our
40-plus years of strong Boeing-NASA partnership,” said Enrico Attanasio, executive director, Department of Defense and Civil
Programs, Boeing Satellite Systems.
Boeing has provided
space communication services to NASA for more than four decades,
and has been NASA’s sole provider of tracking and data relay
satellites since 1995.