TDRS-M inside the Astrotech facility in Titusville.jpg
TDRS-M at the Astrotech payload processing facility
Mission typeCommunications
COSPAR ID2017-047A
SATCAT no.42915Edit this on Wikidata
Mission durationPlanned: 15 years
Elapsed: 4 years, 2 months, 2 days
Spacecraft properties
Launch mass3,454 kg (7,615 lb)[1]
Start of mission
Launch date18 August 2017, 12:29 (2017-08-18UTC12:29) UTC[2]
RocketAtlas V 401
Launch siteCape Canaveral SLC-41
ContractorUnited Launch Alliance
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeGeosynchronous orbit
TDRS M Project fairing logo.png  

TDRS-13, known before launch as TDRS-M, is an American communications satellite operated by NASA as part of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System. The thirteenth Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, it is the third and final third-generation spacecraft to be launched, following the 2014 launch of TDRS-12.


TDRS-M was constructed by Boeing, based on the BSS-601HP satellite bus. Fully fueled, it has a mass of 3,454 kg (7,615 lb), with a design life of 15 years.[1] It carries two steerable antennas capable of providing S, Ku and Ka band communications for other spacecraft, with an additional array of S-band transponders for lower-rate communications with five further satellites.[3] The satellite is powered by two solar arrays, which produce 2.8 to 3.2 kilowatts of power, while an R-4D-11-300 engine is present to provide propulsion.[1]


In 2015, NASA contracted with United Launch Alliance to launch TDRS-M on an Atlas V 401 for $132.4 million. The spacecraft was launched on 18 August 2017 at 12:29 UTC (08:29 local time)[2] from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.[4]

Damage during final closeouts

On 15 July 2017, The TDRS-M space communications satellite was damaged during the encapsulation process at Astrotech Space Operations.[5]

According to NASA's press release, "NASA and Boeing are reviewing an incident that occurred during final spacecraft closeout activities on the Tracking Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-M) mission at Astrotech Space Operations in Titusville, Florida, on July 14, involving the Omni S-band antenna."[6] This incident did result in a launch delay.[7]

Location of TDRS as of 22 May 2020
Location of TDRS as of March 2019


  1. ^ a b c Krebs, Gunter. "TDRS K, L, M". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
  2. ^ a b Clark, Stephen (16 September 2016). "Launch Schedule". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 17 September 2016.
  3. ^ "TDRS-K Media Kit" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
  4. ^ Northon, Karen (30 October 2015). "NASA Awards Launch Services Contract for TDRS Satellite". NASA. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  5. ^ Foust, Jeff (18 August 2017). "TDRS launch marks end of an era". SpaceNews. Retrieved 16 June 2021. During a pre-launch news conference Aug. 17 at the Kennedy Space Center, a Boeing manager said the antenna suffered some “minor damage” when a crane bumped it. “It was prepping to the lift the satellite, and the crane did come down and touch it,” said James Wilson III, Boeing program manager for NASA and civil space programs.
  6. ^ Garner, Rob (15 July 2017). "TDRS-M Status Update - July 15, 2017". NASA. Retrieved 16 July 2017.
  7. ^ Foust, Jeff (21 July 2017). "Mishap to delay launch of NASA communications satellite". SpaceNews. Retrieved 16 June 2021.