TDRS-C aboard Discovery
|SATCAT no.||19548 |
|Mission duration||Planned: 10 years|
Elapsed: 32 years, 3 months, 20 days
|Launch mass||2,224.9 kg (4,905 lb)|
|Dimensions||17.3 × 14.2 m (57 × 47 ft)|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||29 September 1988, 15:37:00UTC|
|Rocket||Space Shuttle Discovery|
STS-26 / IUS
|Launch site||Kennedy Space Center LC-39B|
|Reference system||Geocentric orbit|
|Longitude||151° West (1988)|
171° West (1988–1990)
174° West (1990–1991)
62° West (1991–1994)
171° West (1994–1995)
85° East (1995–2009)
49° West (2009–)
|Epoch||29 September 1988 |
TDRS-3, known before launch as TDRS-C, is an American communications satellite, of first generation, which is operated by NASA as part of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System. It was constructed by TRW, and is based on a custom satellite bus which was used for all seven first generation TDRS satellites.
The TDRS-C satellite was launched aboard Space Shuttle Discovery during the STS-26 mission in 1988; the first Shuttle flight since the Challenger accident which had resulted in the loss of the previous TDRS satellite, TDRS-B. Discovery launched from Launch Complex 39B at the Kennedy Space Center at 15:37:00 UTC on 29 September 1988. TDRS-C was deployed from Discovery around six hours after launch, and was raised to geostationary orbit by means of an Inertial Upper Stage.
The two-stage solid-propellent Inertial Upper Stage made two burns. The first stage burn occurred shortly after deployment from Discovery, and placed the satellite into a geosynchronous transfer orbit. At 04:30 UTC on 30 September 1988, it reached apogee, and the second stage fired, placing TDRS-C into geosynchronous orbit. At this point it received its operational designation. Although the TDRS-2 designation had not been assigned, TDRS-C was given the designation TDRS-3 as NASA did not want to reuse the designation which had been intended for the STS-51-L payload. It was briefly placed at a longitude 151° West of the Greenwich Meridian, before being moved to 171.0° West before the end of 1988, from where it provided communications services to spacecraft in Earth orbit, including Space Shuttles. In 1990, it was relocated to 174.0° West, and again in 1991 to 62.0° West. In 1994, it returned to 171.0° West. In June 1995, it was moved to 85.0° East, from where it was used primarily for communications with spacecraft such as the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope. In October 2009, as NASA began decommissioning TDRS-1, TDRS-3 was moved to 49.0° West, where it remains in storage as of 2020.