Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) Ballet
Published on Mar 16, 2017
Whether a new TDRS is joining the fleet, a satellite is being moved for better ground station visibility or being moved out due to end-of-life, the spacecraft perform a carefully choreographed dance. They move around the globe to one of the three set operational clusters located either over the Atlantic, Pacific or Indian Oceans. These three clusters provide continuous global visibility and thus continuous global communications coverage since user spacecraft, balloon or launch vehicles can see at least one of these locations at any given time.
The TDRS fleet ballet is very important in support of the evolving composition of the TDRS satellites.
The animation shows how the TDRS satellites have moved since 2010.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlJ7U5hckXY?t=001