Boeing Frontiers
November 2002 
Volume 01, Issue 07 
Top Stories Inside Quick Takes Site Tools

'High' tech bypass

Recovery effort places TDRS-I into target orbit

A remarkable, on-orbit procedure—perhaps best described as a remote-control coronary bypass—has placed NASA’s Boeing-built Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-I into geosynchronous orbit.

The spacecraft’s inability to reach its proper orbit began when one of two propellant fuel tanks did not pressurize properly shortly after TDRS-I’s launch on March 8. Boeing Satellite Systems’ satellite controllers, working with NASA personnel, rerouted fuel tank pressurant around a blocked valve and conducted a series of engine burns over the past four months to raise TDRS-I’s orbit to 22,300 miles. They performed the last burn on Sept. 30.

TDRS-I will join TDRS-H, launched in June 2000, in providing communications support for NASA’s space shuttles, the International Space Station, and scientific spacecraft. TDRS-J is scheduled for launch in November.

“The TDRS-I recovery effort was a feat that demonstrates the inherent design robustness of our products and the incredible space operation knowledge and experience of our team,” BSS President Randy Brinkley said. “I am so very proud of our TDRS-I team and the support and confidence our NASA customer has shown during this challenging period. All of us at BSS recognized how critical TDRS-I is to NASA’s Space Shuttle and International Space Station, and I am inspired by our joint team’s efforts.”

The recovery was a joint effort, Brinkley added. “NASA co-located personnel in our Mission Control Center in El Segundo and provided support from its ground station network throughout the recovery effort. The joint effort showed what can be accomplished by working together.”

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