NASA launches 'TDRS-M' satellite to help astronauts communicate with Earth

NASA launches 'TDRS-M' satellite to help astronauts communicate with Earth

The sixth and final Boeing [NYSE: BA] Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS), launched today, will enhance NASA's space communications network when the satellite becomes fully operational early next year.

United Launch Alliance's Atlas V rocket is set to liftoff Friday morning, August 18, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. NASA will conduct additional tests before putting TDRS-M into service early next year. The issue was resolved and the satellite will now join the Space Network, which consists of TDRS satellites that transmit data to and from ground stations on Earth for NASA missions and expendable launch vehicles.

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The space agency in a statement said, the satellite will support critical space communication into the mid-2020s.

The satellite, which was built by Boeing, will allow scientists, engineers and control room staff to access data for missions such as the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station.

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TDRS-M is the last of 13 such satellites that have been launched since 1983. After testing and confirming the spacecraft was ready for shipment, launch processing began following TDRS-M's arrival in Florida June 23. Management of the launch service for TDRS-M is the responsibility of NASA's Launch Services Program based at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The rocket was launched at approximately 8:30 a.m. on Friday.

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