Sophisticated Satellite Ready For Wednesday Launch

By  //  January 30, 2013

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Weather Might Push Back Liftoff

BREVARD COUNTY • KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLORIDA – Having resolved a minor technical issue, NASA newest Tracking and Data Relay System satellite is scheduled to launch Wednesday evening from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.     

An Atlas V rocket sits on the launch pad ready to carry the new TDRS-K satellite into orbit Wednesday night. (Image courtesy of NASA)

While testing the TDRS-K satellite prior to launch, NASA engineers found a short circuit in its Ordnance Remote Control Assembly and repaired it.

The glitch forced a one-day delay of the launch, which is now set between 8:48 to 9:28 p.m. Wednesday night.

The TDRS K satellite will be carried into space aboard a two-stage United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

The upgraded satellite will be employed to provide tracking, telemetry, command and high bandwidth data return services.

Presently NASA uses seven TDRS in-flight communication satellites in low-earth orbit and each one has the ability to send and receive signals both to and from the ground to multiple satellites in orbit all at one time.

The TDRS-K is the first of three advanced satellites that are planned  to help ensure continuity for NASA by expanding the lifespan of the entire satellite fleet in orbit .

The mission patch is shown for the new TDRS-K satellite launch. (Image courtesy of NASA)

In a press release, Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space & Intelligence Systems said the new satellite will demonstrate sophisticated  technological improvements to support NASA’s mission.

“The TDRS satellites provide NASA with crucial crosslink communications between orbiting spacecraft and control and data processing facilities on Earth,”Cooning  said. “TDRS K is a major step toward improving how high-resolution images, video, voice and data are transmitted.”

This satellite been designed for a lifespan of 15 years, but that could be extended if the mission warrants, Cooning said.

In December, the TDRS-K satellite arrived at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and was transported to the Astrotech payload processing facility in Titusville, where it was uncrated and prelaunch testing was initiated.

NASA encapsulated the TDRS-K satellite in its protective payload fairing on Jan. 16.

Weather may be a factor in tonight’s launch.

There is a 40 percent chance of low thick clouds and winds in the area, which might bump back the launch again.


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