About Us


Illustration of TDRS K/LThe Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) Project is providing follow-on and replacement spacecraft necessary to maintain and expand the Space Network. The contract to build three additional TDRS spacecraft, known as TDRS K, L, and M, was awarded to Boeing Space Systems in December 2007. TDRS K launched January 30, 2013, and TDRS L launched January 23, 2014. TDRS M's launch readiness date is scheduled for 2015.  The contract also has options for one additional spacecraft, TDRS N. In addition to building the TDRS K, L, and M spacecraft, the contract also includes the modifications to the White Sands Complex (WSC) ground system required to support these new spacecraft.

The TDRS Project, established in 1973, is responsible for the development, launch, and on-orbit test and calibration of TDRS spacecraft. There have been four procurements of TDRS spacecraft, which include the Basic Program (TDRS F1-F6), the Replacement Program (TDRS F7), the TDRS H,I,J Program, and the TDRS K,L,M Program.  TDRS Flight 7 was a replacement for Flight 2, which was lost aboard Challenger in 1986.  The first seven spacecraft (TDRS F1-F7) are referred to as the First Generation, the H,I,J series are called the Second Generation, and the K,L,M series are known as the Third Generation.  TDRS F1-7 spacecraft were built by TRW (now Northrop Grumman) in Redondo Beach, CA.  The TDRS F8-10 (H,I,J) spacecraft were built by Hughes (now Boeing) in El Segundo, CA. 

The NASA Space Network consists of the on-orbit telecommunications TDRS satellites, placed in geosynchronous orbit, and the associated TDRS ground stations, located in White Sands, New Mexico and Guam. The TDRS constellation is capable of providing nearly continuous high bandwidth (S, Ku, and Ka band) telecommunications services for expandable launch vehicles and user spacecraft in low Earth orbit. Examples include: the Hubble Space Telescope, the Earth Observig Fleet and the International Space Station.  The TDRS System is a basic agency capability and a critical national resource.

This next generation space communications satellite is part of a follow-on spacecraft fleet being developed and deployed to replenish NASA’s Space Network. The TDRS Project Office at Goddard Space Flight Center manages the TDRS development effort. TDRS is the responsibility of the Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) office within the Human Exploration and Operations (HEO) Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington D.C. Operations of the network is the responsibility of the Space Network Project at Goddard. At Goddard Space Flight Center, TDRS is a part of the Exploration and Space Communications Projects Division (ESC), which is a part of the Flight Projects Directorate (FPD). Additional links to ESC, FPD, and SCaN can be found at the top of this page.