After a challenging seven-month planning and recovery effort led by Boeing Satellite Systems of El Segundo, Calif., the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-I (TDRS-I) reached geosynchronous orbit Sept. 30 early in the morning. The recovery effort was prompted when one of the two fuel tanks aboard the satellite did not properly pressurize shortly after its March 8 launch.
"This amazing milestone was achieved through the dedication and extensive personal sacrifices of the Boeing/NASA TDRS-I mission recovery team," said Robert Jenkens Jr., TDRS Project Manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. "These talented and innovative individuals were able to collectively overcome many significant obstacles along the way," he added.
"Despite what initially appeared to be an impossible challenge, the team was able to achieve a geosynchronous orbit and demonstrate Boeing's commitment to the success of NASA's TDRS-H, -I, -J Program," said Jenkens. "Looking ahead, we now have to complete the appendage-deployment phase and conduct on-orbit testing to evaluate the state of health and performance of the satellite," he said.
The TDRS fleet provides continuous, high-data-rate communication with the Space Shuttle, the International Space Station and dozens of unmanned scientific satellites, including the Hubble Space Telescope, in low-earth orbit.