Ground Segment

Second TDRS Ground Terminal at dawn. Photo Credit: W.R. Gardner

Second TDRSS Ground Terminal at Dawn. Credit: W.R. Gardner (NASA)

The primary TDRS ground terminals are located near Las Cruces, New Mexico.  These two functionally identical ground terminals, White Sands Ground Terminal (WSGT) and Second TDRS Ground Terminal (STGT), are collectively known as the White Sands Complex. Customer forward data is uplinked from the ground segment to a TDRS and relayed from the TDRS to the customer spacecraft. Return data is relayed from the customer spacecraft through a TDRS to the WSC ground segment and then on to the customer designated data collection location. The three operational TDRS satelites are located in geosynchronous orbit above three different regions of the Earth. As the user spacecraft moves in its orbit, it will continually move from one TDRS to another.

Currently the TDRS team is working with the Space Network to upgrade the WSC ground system for the new generation of TDRS. This very intense process involves modernized Command and Telemetry systems, new generation Ground Based Beamformers (GBBF), two Ka-Band End-to-End Test Antenna systems, and SGLT upgrades associated with the new TDRS Spacecraft.  During this time, the Space Network remains continually operational with little to no interruption of service for the Space Network's customers.