TDRS-M launch date under review following pre-launch incident

NASA and Boeing are reviewing the status of the TDRS-M launch date following an incident relating to an antenna during the spacecraft’s final launch processing to launch. The spacecraft’s launch atop United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket is currently scheduled to take place on August 3.


A flagship launch of the third of the latest generation of Tracking and Data Relay Satellites (TDRS) is facing a review following an incident during closeout processing.

The spacecraft has been preparing for an August launch inside the Astrotech Space Operations facility in Titusville, Florida.

No specifics about the July 14 incident have been provided, with a NASA statement only noting the assessments surround the spacecraft’s Omni S-band antenna.

“NASA and Boeing are reviewing an incident that occurred during final spacecraft closeout activities,” NASA said. “The mission team is developing a plan to assess flight acceptance and the schedule forward.

“These additional activities are under evaluation for a planned TDRS-M launch Aug. 3, 2017, on an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.”

It is understood this latest incident is not related to a ‘close call’ that NASA was investigating earlier in the flow. That incident involved the spacecraft’s shipping container – containing environmental instrumentation – which slid a couple of feet on the trailer it was being winched on to.

The processing flow for the mission had already passed several review milestones, specifically the Launch Vehicle Readiness Review (LVRR), Safety and Mission Success Review (SMSR) and the Calibration & Recertification Review (CRR).

The Atlas V that will provide the spacecraft with its ride to orbit is currently being integrated inside the Vertical Integration Facility (VIF) at Space Launch Complex -41 (SLC-41). ULA’s flow with the rocket has continued without issue, with the TDRS…

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