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NASA, Boeing in dispute over faulty spacecraft
Posted: Sat, Jul 7, 2001, 11:27 AM ET (1527 GMT)
TDRS-H illustration (Boeing) NASA and Boeing are locked in a contractual dispute about a malfunctioning communications spacecraft according to an Aviation Week article published online Friday. The article states that the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite H (TDRS-H) spacecraft, launched a year ago, has experienced a malfunction with a system that allows it to handle communications with five spacecraft simultaneously. The problem has kept NASA from adding the spacecraft to the existing TDRS constellation in geosynchronous orbit, keeping it in a temporary parking orbit over the Pacific while the investigation into the problem continues. NASA and Boeing officials are currently locked in a debate over the exact nature of the problem and what restitution, if any, Boeing will have to pay NASA for the problems. Boeing officials do admit that there is a "performance shortfall" with TDRS-H and are currently modifying two other spacecraft under construction, TDRS-I and -J, to prevent the problem from happening again. The TDRS system is used by NASA, the U.S. intelligence community, and several other nations to relay data from the shuttle, space station, and reconnaissance satellites. The improved performance the TDRS-H class of spacecraft are supposed to provide is critical as demands on the aging fleet of TDRS satellites grow.
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