Back in the 1980s NASA developed and deployed a system to improve space to ground communications for both manned and unmanned space flight. The Tracking and Data Relay Satellite took on the acronym TDRS (pronounced tee-dris) and remains highly successful in the transference of data from the many satellites in orbit, including the Hubble Space Telescope (HST).
When I visited the Air and Space Museum in Chantilly Virginia earlier this year I photographed a now retired model suspended from the hangar ceiling just above the also retired Shuttle Discovery.
For some, this may not look like much more than a couple of umbrellas and an electronic power package but make no mistake, these devices are highly tuned, powerful instruments. Once they have been placed in the a geosynchronous orbit they communicate with and relay data to ground stations.
In the hangar seen above, the ceiling has that deep space look, adding to the overall experience for visitors. It also helps satellites and other retired space gear to stand out for viewers and photographers like yours truly.
Above we see a spacesuit and power pack used during spacewalks. I removed the tethers attaching it to the ceiling to give a closer look to the weightlessness of outer space.
Should you find yourself in the DC, northern Virginia area with a day to spend photographing fun displays from the aviation industry, do check out the Air and Space Museums of Washington DC or Chantilly Virginia.
Thanks for visiting!