Nasa picks new launch date for TDRS-M mission


Nasa has selected a new date to launch its Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-M) mission into space following an incident that damaged the spacecraft’s Omni S-band forward antenna during the final closeout activities at Astrotech Space Operations in Titusville, Florida, US.

As per the new plan, the satellite is set to be launched on 20 August, nearly 20 days after the originally planned launch date.

The satellite will be launched on-board a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

After reviewing plans to safely replace the damaged antenna on TDRS-M, Nasa has asked Boeing, the manufacturer of the satellite, to remove and reinstate the antenna.

"The mission will be the latest to join a fleet of satellites supporting the space segment of the Nasa’s Space Network, which is designed to transmit data to and from ground stations on Earth."

The launch is yet to receive approval from Pending Eastern Range, the US rocket range that supports missile and rocket launches from two major launch pads located at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and the Kennedy Space Centre (KSC), Florida.

Once approved, the mission will be the latest to join a fleet of satellites supporting the space segment of the Nasa’s Space Network, which is designed to transmit data to and from ground stations on Earth for Nasa missions and expendable launch vehicles.

Representing the ULA’s fifth launch of this year, the TDRS-M mission will also be able to support space communication for 15 more years.