NASA's Boeing-built Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-J (TDRS-J) has begun its journey to Kennedy Space Center, Fla., where it will undergo final preparations for its November launch aboard an Atlas IIA rocket.
The Boeing 601 satellite is the third of three TDRS spacecraft to be built and delivered by Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, a unit of The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA], for NASA Goddard Space Flight Center of Greenbelt, Md.
"After rigorous and extensive factory testing, we are confident that TDRS-J is flight-ready," said Randy Brinkley, president of Boeing Satellite Systems, the El Segundo, Calif.-based satellite-manufacturing arm of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. "This third next-generation spacecraft will provide broader communications services and further boost the capabilities of the TDRS fleet."
TDRS-J will help replenish and augment the current TDRS fleet, which serves as the primary means of continuous, high-data-rate communication with the Space Shuttle, the International Space Station and dozens of unmanned scientific satellites in low-Earth orbit, including the Hubble Space Telescope. The three newest TDRS satellites add Ka-band capability, which more than doubles the available bandwidth and allows transmissions at data rates up to 500 Mbps higher than those offered by legacy TDRS satellites. TDRS-H was successfully launched in June 2000. TDRS-I reached geosynchronous orbit on Sept. 30, and is currently undergoing in-orbit tests.
A unit of The Boeing Company,
Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $23 billion business. It provides systems solutions to its global military, government and commercial customers. It is a leading provider of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; the world's largest military aircraft manufacturer; the world's largest satellite manufacturer and a leading provider of space-based communications; the primary systems integrator for U.S. missile defense; NASA's largest contractor; and a global leader in launch services.