The Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) constellation consists of a number of geosynchronous (GEO) satellites (first generation, second 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 Activity Page
TDRS Reimbursable Rates FY 2023
First Generation Tracking Data Relay Satellite (TDRS)
Destroyed January 28, 1986 in the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion
Launched September 29, 1988 (Currently in storage and used as a spare)
Launched August 02, 1991 (Currently in storage and used as a spare)
Launched January 13, 1993
Launched July 13, 1995
Second Generation Tracking Data Relay Satellite (TDRS)
Launched June 30, 2000
Launched March 8, 2002
Launched December 4, 2002
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.
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center manages the operations of the TDRS spacecraft.