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The Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-H) sits on a workstand in KSC’s Spacecraft Assembly and Encapsulation Facility (SAEF-2) in order to undergo electrical testing. The TDRS is scheduled to be launched from CCAFS June 29 aboard an Atlas IIA/Centaur rocket. One of three satellites (labeled H, I and J) being built in the Hughes Space and Communications Company Integrated Satellite Factory in El Segundo, Calif., the latest TDRS uses an innovative springback antenna design. A pair of 15-foot-diameter, flexible mesh antenna reflectors fold up for launch, then spring back into their original cupped circular shape on orbit. The new satellites will augment the TDRS system’s existing Sand Ku-band frequencies by adding Ka-band capability. TDRS will serve as the sole means of continuous, high-data-rate communication with the space shuttle, with the International Space Station upon its completion, and with dozens of unmanned scientific satellites in low earth orbit
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