Dwayne Brown Headquarters, Washington, DC (Phone: 202/358-1600


October 11, 1995

RELEASE: 95-180 NASA/AIR FORCE SIGN COST-SAVING SUPPORT SERVICES AGREEMENT NASA and the U.S. Air Force today signed a nine-year agreement which provides for communications support to be furnished by NASA for the Air ForceÕs Titan IV/Centaur launch program. This arrangement will save the U.S. government millions of dollars. The agreement calls for NASAÕs Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) to provide tracking and data acquisition services in support of the Air ForceÕs MILSTAR satellite launch scheduled for mid-November from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL, and other Air Force launches occurring over the agreement period. After final checkout on the MILSTAR mission, the Air Force intends to make TDRSS the primary tracking and data acquisition system for those portions of the Titan IV/Centaur launches not covered by ground sites. ÒTDRSS support of future Titan launches will mark the first time that our system has supported an expendable launch vehicle operationally. This not only demonstrates the cost-effectiveness of TDRSS, but also the versatility of NASA's unique communications system,Ó said Charles T. Force, NASAÕs Associate Administrator for Space Communications. The TDRSS coverage will reduce, and in most cases replace, support provided by the Air ForceÕs Advanced Range Instrumentation Aircraft for major phases of Titan IV/Centaur launches -- where up to five aircraft may be used for a launch. Due to the high cost of personnel and logistical needs of these aircraft, the Air Force looked at other alternatives and determined that TDRSS was the logical solution in this budget-tight era. For some launches, however, at least one aircraft may still be needed to provide coverage for certain critical launch phases.

ÒWe plan to launch 11 more Titan IV/Centaurs from 1996 through 2004. By using the TDRSS to support these launches, we expect to save an estimated $14 million over the term of the agreement. We are the first non-NASA agency to take advantage of TDRSS, and this marks a critical milestone in our efforts to upgrade our range capabilities,Ó said Air Force Brigadier General Robert C. Hinson, Commander of the 45th Space Wing. -more-2NASA and the Air Force conducted extensive tests from March 1994 through June 1995 to ensure that the TDRSS is compatible with the Titan IV/Centaur rocket and its related ground support facilities. TDRSS is a space-based network that provides communications, tracking, telemetry, data acquisition, and command services essential to Space Shuttle and low-Earth orbital spacecraft missions. The TDRSS consists of two major elements -- a constellation of geosynchronous satellites and a ground terminal located at White Sands,ÊNM. NASAÕs Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, manages the daily operation of the system. The Office of Space Communications, Washington, DC, has overall system management responsibility. -endNASA press releases and other information are available automatically by sending an Internet electronic mail message to domo@hq.nasa.gov. In the body of the message (not the subject line) users should type the words "subscribe pressrelease" (no quotes). The system will reply with a confirmation via E-mail of each subscription. A second automatic message will include additional information on the service. Questions should be directed to (202) 358-4043.