NASA Goddard Captures Prestigious Nelson P. Jackson Aerospace Award

Press Release From: Goddard Space Flight Center
Posted: Monday, March 22, 2004

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Northrop Grumman Corporation's Space Technology sector have been awarded the National Space Club's 2004 Nelson P. Jackson Aerospace Award, named in honor of the Club's founder and past president. The annual award is presented to recognize exceptional teamwork between government and industry in the missile, aircraft and space fields.

"We are honored to receive this prestigious award," said Phil Liebrecht, Associate Director and Program Manger for Mission Services at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. "NASA and the space community have long recognized the revolutionary and science enabling capabilities of this one-of-a-kind space communications system, which continues to evolve to meet mission critical needs."

The Mission Services Program Office at Goddard is responsible for planning, developing and implementing NASA's worldwide near-Earth space communications networks, which include operations and development of the TDRSS and Space Network. Northrop Grumman was responsible for the design, fabrication, and testing of the original series TDRS 1-7.

When NASA launched TDRS-1 in 1983, it was the largest and most sophisticated communications satellite ever built. Five additional Northrop Grumman (then TRW) built satellites were subsequently placed into orbit through 1995 (TDRS 2 was lost aboard the Shuttle Challenger). All of the original series spacecraft are still on-orbit and functioning, serving human Earth-orbiting and robotic science missions, as well as other national missions and commercial users.

NASA launched three replenishment spacecraft in June 2000, March 2002 and December 2002, built by Boeing Satellite Systems. The entire TDRS fleet and their associated ground control facilities comprise the Tracking Data and Relay Satellite System, a sophisticated communication signal relay system that transmits voice and television, as well as digital and analog data between user satellites and Earth-based control centers. The system greatly enhances the productivity of space assets by transmitting and receiving data from customer satellites over their entire orbit, compared to just 15 percent previously provided by ground stations.

For more information about NASA's Space Network and Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System, go to:

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