The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NSAS) has successfully launched Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-M (TDRS-M) into orbit. It was launched aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket.
TDRS-M is third and final satellite in a series of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS), next generation communications satellites.
TDRS-M as part of NASA’s Space Network will provide navigation and high-data-rate communications to the International Space Station (ISS), Hubble Space Telescope, rockets and a host of other spacecraft. It will also expand the capabilities and extend the lifespan of the NASA’s Space Network which will allow researchers to continue receiving and transmitting mission data well into the next decade.
Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS)
The TDRSS is a fleet of geosynchronous communications satellites that form part of NASA’s Space Network. It was introduced in the 1980s to support the Space Shuttle. It is still in service, providing scientific data, relay for communications, telemetry and commands between operators on the ground and spacecraft in Earth orbit. TDRS-M’s predecessors, TDRS-K and TDRS-L were also launched onboard of Atlas V rockets in January 2013 and January 2014, respectively. The TDRS fleet is a critical connection for delivering science and human spaceflight data to researchers on Earth.