TDRS-K launch

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket has successfully launched the Boeing Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS)-K for NASA at 8:48 PM this evening. The launch site was Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

TDRS-K is the first in a new class of Tracking and Data Relay Satellites. It will serve as a communications platform between numerous spacecraft and ground stations on Earth. TDRS-L and –M will launch in 2013 and 2015, respectively, to complete the upgrade of the TDRS constellation. Stationed in geosynchronous orbit about 22,300 miles above Earth, the satellites can pick up signals from lower orbiting spacecraft and send those signals to ground control and data collection stations.

The International Space Station is a frequent user of the TDRS system. NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and other space-borne observatories also transmit signals through the TDRS satellites.


Photo credit: NASA

Photo credit: United Launch Alliance

Photo credit: United Launch Alliance


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