Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

TDRS-4 Mission Complete; Spacecraft Retired From Active Service

09.05.2012
The Tracking and Data Relay Satellite 4 (TDRS-4) recently completed almost 23 years of operations support and successfully completed end-of-mission de-orbit and decommissioning activities. TDRS-4's operational life span was well beyond its original 10-year design.

Launched on March 13, 1989, from onboard Space Shuttle Discovery, TDRS-4 operated in geosynchronous (GEO) altitude at more than 22,000 miles above the Atlantic Ocean region. As part of the spacecraft's end-of-mission activities, its orbit was raised above the congested geosynchronous orbit.


An Artist Rendering of TDRS-4.
Credit: NASA

TDRS-4 was forced to retire after the loss of one of three Nickel-Cadmium (24 cell) batteries and the reduction in storage capacity for the two remaining batteries that power the satellite. Retirement for the satellite consisted of excess fuel depletion, disconnecting batteries, and powering down the Radio Frequency Transmitters and receivers so that the satellite is completely and permanently passive. This ensures the satellite will never interfere with other satellites from the radio frequency perspective.

This is the second retirement from within the fleet of TDRS. The fleet of seven remaining satellites operates through a supporting ground system and together they make up the Space Network (SN). The SN provides highly automated, user-driven services supporting customer spacecraft with tracking and data acquisition. The network supports a varied number of missions, including the International Space Station, Hubble Space Telescope, launch vehicles, and a variety of other science missions. The SN also provided primary communication support to the Space Shuttle Project.

"The Space Network spacecraft engineering and operations teams worked together very effectively to execute a practically flawless decommissioning of an incredible satellite," says Mike Rackley, SN deputy project manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. "TDRS-4 made great and important contributions to NASA's human spaceflight and science missions. We will certainly miss her."

This is the second end-of-mission execution for the fleet of aging first generation TDRS spacecraft. TDRS-4's retirement was preceded by TDRS-1, which was decommissioned and raised to its permanent orbit in June 2010.

A total of six first generation spacecraft were successfully placed into orbit from April 1983 through July 1995, of which four are still active. The spacecraft are approaching the end of their operational life span but they are supplemented by three, second-generation spacecraft.

Together they provide customers with global space to ground communication services.

To continue this critical lifeline, NASA has contracted Boeing to build three additional follow-on TDRS spacecraft, replenishing TDRS-1 and TDRS-4, and expanding NASA's communication services. TDRS-K is scheduled for launch in December of this year followed by TDRS-L in 2013 and TDRS-M in 2015.

The SN is managed by GSFC and its primary ground communications facility is located at the White Sands Complex in Las Cruses, NM. The Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate and the Space Communications and Navigation Program at NASA Headquarters fund NASA's Space Network.

Nicole Hagey and Dewayne Washington
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

Dewayne Washington | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nasa.gov
http://www.nasa.gov/topics/technology/features/tdrs4-retired.html

Further reports about: Active Agents Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt NASA Shuttle Space TDRS-4 spacecraft

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht New survey hints at exotic origin for the Cold Spot
26.04.2017 | Royal Astronomical Society

nachricht NASA's Fermi catches gamma-ray flashes from tropical storms
25.04.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Link Discovered between Immune System, Brain Structure and Memory

26.04.2017 | Life Sciences

New survey hints at exotic origin for the Cold Spot

26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA examines newly formed Tropical Depression 3W in 3-D

26.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>