On January 13, 1993, Tracking and Data Relay Satellite 6 (TDRS-6), the American communications satellite launched by Space Shuttle Endeavour. TDRS-6 is still operational today, well past its intended design life”.
Today’s (January 13) story of what happened this day in Science, Technology, Astronomy, and Space Exploration history.
TDRS-6 is the sixth satellite in the first generation of TDRS spacecraft. “TDRS” is the acronym for “Tracking and Data Relay Satellite”. Started in the early 1970s, TDRS comprises the space segment of the Space Network. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center manages the development and operations of the TDRS spacecraft. TDRS can provide near-constant communication links between the ground and orbiting satellites.
The current Tracking and Data Relay Satellite configuration consists of nine in-orbit satellites (four first-generation, three second-generation, and two third-generation satellites) distributed to provide near-continuous information relay service to missions like the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and the International Space Station.
The last Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, TDRS-M launched in August 2017. Once it is accepted into the Space Network in early 2018, the TDRS configuration will grow to include 10 in-orbit satellites.
First Generation Tracking Data Relay Satellite (TDRS)
- TDRS-A (TDRS-1) – Launched April 04, 1983; Retired Fall 2009; Disposal June 2010
- TDRS-B – Destroyed on January 28, 1986, in the Challenger explosion
- TDRS-C (TDRS-3) – Launched September 29, 1988
- TDRS-D (TDRS-4) – Launched March 13, 1989; Retired December 2011; Disposal April 2012
- TDRS-E (TDRS-5) – Launched August 02, 1991
- TDRS-F (TDRS-6) – Launched January 13, 1993
- TDRS-G (TDRS-7) – Launched July 13, 1995
Second Generation Tracking Data Relay Satellite (TDRS)
- TDRS-H (TDRS-8) – Launched June 30, 2000
- TDRS-I (TDRS-9) – Launched March 8, 2002
- TDRS-J (TDRS-10) – Launched December 4, 2002
- TDRS-6 on W
- Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) on NASA.gov
- Tracking and Data Relay Satellite 6 Anniversary on NASA.gov
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