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NASA'S Tracking and Data Relay Satellite
KSC Release No. 63-88

December 1992

Designation

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STS-26 tracking and data relay satellite C (TDRS-C) processing at KSC Designation of a TDRS satellite depends on whether it is on orbit or still on the ground. On-the-ground TDRS spacecraft receive a letter designation: TDRS-A, TDRS-B, TDRS-C, etc. Once on orbit, this designation changes to a numeral: TDRS-A becomes TDRS-1, etc. Even though the TDRS-B spacecraft never achieved operational orbit because it was lost in the Challenger accident, the TDRS-2 designation it was to have received was not reassigned.

The concept of a multi-satellite constellation has engendered another way of referring to the TDRS spacecraft. The TDRS occupying the 41 degrees west longitude slot also is referred to as TDRS-East, and the spacecraft in the 174 degrees west longitude location occupies the TDRS-West slot.

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