Switchboard in the Sky

The Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-I), is the second of three Boeing 601 satellites built by Boeing Satellite Systems, a unit of The Boeing Company for NASA Goddard Space Flight Center of Greenbelt, Md. These satellites relay large volumes of user satellite data -- including voice, video and scientific -- from manned missions or orbiting scientific spacecraft back to ground control centers. TDRS supports spacecraft whose research targets range from the birth of stars deep in distant galaxies to the subtleties of environmental phenomena on Earth. The new satellite will add Ka-band capability to the TDRS fleet, adding flexibility and allowing for higher data rates at a more favorable and less heavily used frequency band.