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TDRS-I finally reaches GEO
Posted: Sat, Oct 5, 2002, 7:59 AM ET (1159 GMT)
TDRS-H illustration (Boeing) A NASA communications satellite launched earlier this year but temporarily stranded in a transfer orbit has finally reached geosynchronous orbit, the space agency announced this week. TDRS-I was launched in March on an Atlas 2A from Cape Canaveral and placed into geosynchronous transfer orbit, from where the spacecraft’s thrusters would propel the spacecraft into GEO. However, one of the two propellant tanks on the spacecraft failed to pressurize because of a stuck helium valve, allowing the spacecraft to go only partway to GEO before the propellant in the one pressurized tank was exhausted. Engineers conducted what they called a "remote control coronary bypass" to reroute pressurant around the stuck valve so that propellant in the other tank could be used. The spacecraft finally entered GEO on September 30. TDRS-I is the second of three next-generation Tracking and Data Relay Satellites, used by NASA to communicate with the space shuttle, ISS, and other orbiting spacecraft. It will undergo at least eight weeks of tests before entering service.
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