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July 18th, 2017

NASA and Boeing Feel the Pain ... Admit Damaged Antenna on the TDRS-M Satellite

In a July 13, 2017 photo provided by NASA, the payload fairing for NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, TDRS-M, is inspected prior to encapsulating the spacecraft, inside the Astrotech facility in Titusville, Fla. NASA said

Earlier this week, Satnews.com reported "During the closing launch processing of NASA's Tracking Data Relay Satellite TDRS-M spacecraft, an incident occurred that may have damaged the satellite's Omni S-band antenna."

Now it's established that it is a fact, that the antenna was damaged. NASA and Boeing officials are looking into whether an incident that damaged an antenna on a next-generation satellite planned to launch August 3, will change the mission’s timeline. With a 40-minute window for the launch beginning at 9:02 a.m. officials aren't committing one way or the other as to whether the damaged antenna will delay the launch.

The accident took place during the 'final spacecraft closeout activities', according to a report from NASA. The episode occurred Friday and was announced on the agency’s website Saturday.

It's reported that United Launch Alliance and NASA officials did not immediately return emails requesting comment.

Here is the full statement NASA released Saturday:

“NASA and Boeing are reviewing an incident that occurred during final spacecraft closeout activities on the Tracking Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-M) mission at Astrotech Space Operations in Titusville, Florida, on July 14, involving the Omni S-band antenna. The mission team is developing a plan to assess flight acceptance and the schedule forward. These additional activities are under evaluation for a planned TDRS-M launch Aug. 3, 2017, on an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.”