Northrop Grumman is providing NASA a set of satellites for transmitting images and data from space to Earth, with at least two out of six still operating beyond their planned 10-year lifespan.
According to Northrop, Tracking and Data Relay Satellites three and five are respectively in year 24 and year 21 of their service life and satellite six has orbited Earth for nearly 20 years.
Flight one was operational for nearly 27 years before its decommissioning in 2010 and flight four was in orbit for 22 years prior to retiring in 2011.
The sixth satellite laced into orbit by the Space Shuttle Endeavour placed satellite six into orbit in 1993 to transmit images from Hubble Space Telescope to Earth.
Currently in orbit above Brazil, the satellite also transmits pictures, television, voice and data from the International Space Station.
Northrop’s aerospace systems sector built the first TDRS spacecraft generation in Redondo Beach, Calif. at its Space Park facilities.