Boeing [NYSE: BA] has received a $289 million contract modification from NASA, exercising an option to add Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) M to the existing TDRS fleet. Three Boeing-built TDRS satellites are currently providing critical services to NASA, and two more are on schedule for delivery to the customer with launches planned in 2012 and 2013.
"Boeing continues to provide reliable services to our NASA customer with the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite system," said Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space & Intelligence Systems. "TDRS M will address the growing need for satellites to serve as NASA's means of continuous, high-data-rate communication with the International Space Station, Hubble Space Telescope and dozens of unmanned scientific satellites in low Earth orbit."
The TDRS satellites incorporate a modern design based on flight-proven performance. The steerable, single-access antennas can simultaneously transmit and receive at S-band and either Ku- or Ka-band, supporting dual independent, two-way communication. The 15-foot diameter antennas are designed with flexible membrane reflectors that stow for launch before springing back into their original parabolic shape on orbit.
Boeing was awarded a contract for the TDRS K series in December 2007. The initial award included TDRS K and L, with an option for TDRS M. The company previously built the three satellites in the TDRS H, I, and J series for NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Boeing continues in its role supporting NASA's key programs over a period that spans more than four decades.
Boeing has teamed with General Dynamics, located near Las Cruces, N.M., to modify the existing TDRS system ground terminals to be compatible with the TDRS K, L and M satellites. The ground terminals, located at the White Sands Complex in New Mexico, are the primary two-way communications link between the TDRS satellites and the ground-based elements of the TDRS system communications network.
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