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Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS)

The Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) constellation consists of a number of geosynchronous (GEO) satellites (first generationsecond generation and third generation satellites) distributed over the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean. They provide near continuous bent pipe information relay services to over 25 missions like the Hubble Space Telescope, the International Space Station and many of our Earth-observing missions like Global Precipitation Measurement, Terra and Aqua

TDRS comprises the space segment of the government-owned portion of the Near Space Network. TDRS can provide near-constant communication relay links between the ground facilities (located in White Sands, New Mexico and Guam Island in the Pacific Ocean) and orbiting satellites below geosynchronous orbit.
TDRS Characteristics
TDRS Activity Page 
TDRS Reimbursable Rates FY 2023

First generation TDRS

First Generation Tracking Data Relay Satellite (TDRS)

Launched April 04, 1983; Retired Fall 2009; Disposal June 2010

Destroyed January 28, 1986 in the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion

Launched September 29, 1988 (Currently in storage and used as a spare) 

Launched March 13, 1989; Retired December 2011; Disposal April 2012

Launched August 02, 1991 (Currently in storage and used as a spare) 

Launched January 13, 1993


Launched July 13, 1995

First Generation Satellite Capabilities

Second generation TDRS

Second Generation Tracking Data Relay Satellite (TDRS)

Launched June 30, 2000

Launched March 8, 2002

Launched December 4, 2002

Second Generation Satellite Capabilities

Third generation TDRS

Third Generation Tracking Data Relay Satellite (TDRS)

Launched January 30, 2013

Launched January 23, 2014

Launched August 18, 2017

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

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center manages the operations of the TDRS spacecraft.