TDRS-I, the second in a series of three advanced Tracking and Data Relay Satellites, launched this afternoon at 5:59 p.m. EST from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. Spacecraft separation occurred 30 minutes later at 6:29 p.m. EST.
NASA controllers made initial contact with the spacecraft as it passed over a tracking station located on the island of Diego Garcia at 6:35 p.m. EST.
"The entire TDRS team did an outstanding job preparing for and conducting today's launch," said TDRS Project Manager Robert Jenkens, Jr. of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. "I'm very happy to report that we have received telemetry indicating that we have a healthy spacecraft. "
Controllers at Boeing Satellite Systems' Mission Control Center in El Segundo, Calif. will command TDRS-I using NASA's Deep Space Network/Ground Network from the point of spacecraft separation through completion of transfer orbit maneuvers, appendage deployments, acquisition of Earth pointing in geostationary orbit and on-orbit testing. These series of maneuvers will be performed over a 10-day period, boosting the spacecraft into a geosynchronous orbit 22,300 miles above the Earth's equator. NASA's White Sands (New Mexico) Complex will then assume satellite commanding for payload on-orbit acceptance testing, to be performed at 150 degrees West longitude.
Upon successful completion of on-orbit testing, NASA will formally accept ownership of the spacecraft, renaming it TDRS-9.
TDRS-J is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. aboard an Atlas IIA rocket sometime this fall. Boeing Satellite Systems designed and built the enhanced series of satellites for NASA under a firm-fixed price contract.
For detailed information about TDRS-H, -I and -J, go to: