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Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS)
November 13, 2013
When satellites reach their orbit, their name changes from a letter to a number:

Started in the early 1970's, the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) comprises the space segment of the Space Network. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center manages the development and operations of the TDRS satellites.
The current Tracking and Data Relay Satellite configuration consists of nine in-orbit satellites (four first generation, three second generation and two third generation satellites) distributed to provide near continuous information relay service to missions like:

  • The Hubble Space Telescope (HST)
  • The International Space Station (ISS)

› TDRS Characteristics
› TDRS Fleet

First Generation Tracking Data Relay Satellite (TDRS)


Title Event
TDRS-A (TDRS-1) Launched April 04, 1983
Retired Fall 2009
Disposal June 2010
TDRS-B Destroyed January 28, 1986 in Challenger explosion
TDRS-C (TDRS-3) Launched September 29, 1988
TDRS-D (TDRS-4) Launched March 13, 1989
Retired December 2011
Disposal April 2012
TDRS-E (TDRS-5) Launched August 02, 1991
TDRS-F (TDRS-6) Launched January 13, 1993
TDRS-G (TDRS-7) Launched July 13, 1995

› First Generation Satellite Capabilities

Second Generation Tracking Data Relay Satellite (TDRS)


Title Event
TDRS-H (TDRS-8) Launched June 30, 2000
TDRS-I (TDRS-9) Launched March 8, 2002
TDRS-J (TDRS-10) Launched December 4, 2002

› Second Generation Satellite Capabilities

Third Generation Tracking Data Relay Satellite (TDRS)


Title Event
TDRS-K (TDRS-11) Launched January 30, 2013
TDRS-L Launched January 23, 2014
TDRS-M Available for Launch in 2016

The third generation TDRS will be functionally identical to the second generation TDRS with one major exception – beamforming. Multiple Access beamforming will be performed on the ground, unlike the second generation spacecraft which performs this function on-board. Like the first generation, this will allow for the unscheduled S-band DAS to be possible for low data rate use.

› Third Generation Satellite Capabilities

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First generation TDRS
First generation
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Second generation TDRS
Second generation
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Third generation TDRS
Third generation
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Page Last Updated: March 14th, 2014
Page Editor: Thuy Mai