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TDRS-E aboard Atlantis during deployment
Mission typeCommunication
COSPAR ID1991-054B Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.21639
Mission durationPlanned: 10 years
Elapsed: 32 years, 11 months, 10 days
Spacecraft properties
Launch mass2,108 kg (4,647 lb)
Dimensions17.3 × 14.2 m (57 × 47 ft)
Power1700 watts
Start of mission
Launch date2 August 1991, 15:01:59 (1991-08-02UTC15:01:59) UTC
RocketSpace Shuttle Atlantis
STS-43 / IUS
Launch siteKennedy Space Center, LC-39A
ContractorRockwell International
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit
RegimeGeostationary orbit
Longitude174° West (1991–) [1]
Epoch3 August 1991

TDRS-5, known before launch as TDRS-E, 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 is based on a custom satellite bus which was used for all seven first generation TDRS satellites.[2]


The launch of STS-43, carrying TDRS-E

It was launched aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis during the STS-43 mission. Atlantis launched from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center on 2 August 1991 at 15:01:59 UTC (11:01:59 EDT).[3] TDRS-E was deployed from Atlantis around six hours after launch, and was raised to geostationary orbit by means of an Inertial Upper Stage. It was the only TDRS satellite to be deployed from Atlantis.[3]


The twin-stage solid-propellent Inertial Upper Stage made two burns. The first stage burn occurred shortly after deployment, from Atlantis, and placed the satellite into a geostationary transfer orbit (GTO). Around six hours later, it reached apogee, and the second stage fired, placing TDRS-E into geosynchronous orbit. At this point, it received its operational designation, TDRS-5. It was placed at a position over the equator, 174.0° West of the Greenwich Meridian,[1] from where it provides communications services to spacecraft in Earth orbit, including the Space Shuttle and International Space Station.

Location of TDRS as of 26 May 2020
Location of TDRS as of 18 March 2019

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "The TDRS-J satellite". Spaceflight Now. 1 December 2002. Retrieved 2 August 2009.
  2. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "TDRS 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 2 August 2009.
  3. ^ a b McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 2 August 2009.