NASA launches last of its longtime tracking satellites

19 August, 2017, 05:19 | Author: Cecelia Webb
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A United Launch Alliance rocket launched a NASA communications satellite into orbit Friday, completing its 120th consecutive successful mission.

It's another effort to get NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-M into orbit, following a failed attempt in early August.

TDRS-M is the last of 13 such satellites that have been launched since 1983.

A prelaunch news conference will air live on NASA TV at 9 a.m. EDT Launch and mission managers will provide the current status of liftoff preparations and the launch weather forecast, as well as a look ahead at the satellite's mission to come. The TDRSS is a basic NASA capability and a critical national resource. This mission will mark the 72nd Atlas V rocket since its inaugural launch in 2002.




The Atlas V is still on the launch pad.

"Congratulations to our entire ULA team and mission partners at NASA on another successful launch that will enable so many to explore and operate in space", said Maginnis.

The Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS), also referred to as the NASA Space Network, is a space-based communication system used to provide tracking, telemetry, command and high-bandwidth data return services. Microwave communications equipment and gimbaled antennae are the primary payload of each TDRS. The 22,300-mile-high constellation links ground controllers with the International Space Station and other low-orbiting craft including Hubble.

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