NASA and Boeing are reviewing an incident that occurred with the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-M) on July 14 at Astrotech Space Operations in Titusville, Florida. The satellite’s Omni S-band antenna was damaged during final spacecraft closeout activities. The mission team is currently assessing flight acceptance and schedule. TDRS-M is planned to launch Aug. 3, 2017, on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
NASA’s next addition to the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System and the rocket that will deliver it to space are achieving significant prelaunch milestones this week.
The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket is coming together in the Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex 41 on Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The first-stage booster was transported to the launch complex and lifted into position yesterday. The Centaur upper stage will be installed today atop the first stage.
Meanwhile, at the Astrotech payload processing facility in nearby Titusville, local news media got a chance to see the TDRS-M spacecraft before it is affixed to the payload attach fitting in preparation for encapsulation inside the Atlas V payload fairing next week.
The company’s Mariner cargo ship delivered the rocket’s first stage and Centaur upper stage to the Army Wharf at Port Canaveral on Monday afternoon. After unloading Tuesday morning, the components were transported by truck to their respective processing areas on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, where they’ll be readied for launch. The first stage now is inside the Atlas Spaceflight Operations Center and the Centaur is in the Delta Operations Center.
The TDRS-M spacecraft arrived in Florida on Friday, June 23 and is going through its prelaunch paces at the Astrotech Space Operations facility in nearby Titusville. Launch of TDRS-M aboard the Atlas V is slated for August 3 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41.
Photo at right: At Port Canaveral in Florida, a United Launch Alliance Atlas V first stage booster and Centaur upper stage are about to be transported from the company’s Mariner ship to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
The next addition to NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) System has arrived in Florida to begin processing for its August launch. The TDRS-M satellite, secured in a shipping container, was delivered Friday aboard a cargo aircraft that touched down at Space Coast Regional Airport in Titusville, Florida, near the agency’s Kennedy Space Center. The spacecraft then was transported to the Astrotech Space Operations facility to begin preparations for launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.
TDRS-M will expand the capabilities of NASA’s Space Network to support space communication for an additional 15 years. The network consists of TDRS satellites that transmit data to and from ground stations on Earth for NASA missions and expendable launch vehicles. The Space Network allows scientists, engineers and control room staff to readily access data from missions like the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station.
Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems of El Segundo, California, built TDRS-M. NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation Program, a part of the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, is responsible for the TDRS network. Launch management of the Atlas V launch service for TDRS-M is the responsibility of the mission directorate’s Launch Services Program at Kennedy.
Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett