Supporting NASA's Space Network: TDRS-L

23 January 2014

Moog Inc. (NYSE: MOG.A and MOG.B) Space and Defense Group played a major role in the successful launch and orbit insertion of the TDRS-L satellite, on board an Atlas V rocket. The Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) Project provides replacement and follow-on spacecraft necessary to maintain and expand NASA’s Space Network. TDRS-L is the second of three planned follow-on Boeing 601 satellites to provide continuous communication services to NASA’s most critical Earth-observing missions and to improve the amount of data that can be received.

The United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V 401 rocket carried TDRS-L satellite into space with mission critical hardware supplied by Moog.  This included the Centaur Electromechanical Thrust Vector Control (TVC) System that guides the second stage of the rocket into position where the satellite is released into space. In addition, Moog provided the Inlet Valves and Propellant Utilization (PU) Motor for the main Oxidizer Control Valve on the Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10 upper stage engine and the Control Valves for the Aerojet Rocketdyne Roll Control Module (RCM) Thrusters.

The Boeing-built TDRS-L satellite was also equipped with mission critical Moog hardware, including 12 Moog LTT Engines, manufactured in Moog’s Westcott, UK facilities and equipped with 24 Thruster Valves from Moog’s East Aurora, NY facilities.

The LTT Engine was developed at Moog’s Westcott facility in the 1990’s to be a highly robust and reliable thruster capable of performing in a wide range of operating conditions. The LTT has been adopted on the Boeing 601 and 702HP platforms. Moog LTT engines have a long heritage and 100% success rate with more than 480 delivered for a range of defense and commercial applications.

The TDRS Program was established in 1973 and many of the first TDRS spacecraft that launched in the 1980s are still operational today.  TDRS was designed to provide continuous communication with critical Low Earth Orbit (LEO) including the manned International Space Station (ISS) and missions with less reliance on ground stations on foreign soil.  Third Generation satellites (TDRS-K, TDRS-L and TDRS-M) will ensure the Space Network’s continuation of around-the-clock, high throughput communications services to NASA’s missions; including Earth-observing and NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.

The TDRS Project team is located at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. NASA’s Launch Services Program at Kennedy Space Center is responsible for launch management. TDRS ground terminals are located at White Sands, New Mexico and Guam.

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