By  //  January 27, 2013

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Liftoff Now Set For Jan. 30

BREVARD COUNTY • CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA – NASA has pushed back by one day the launch of its first of the next generation of tracking and data relay satellites.

Being’s new TDRS K satellites are being prepared for shipment to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and were created as an upgrade to exisiting satellite models. (Image courtesy of Boeing Space and Security Systems)

Built by the Boeing Company, the new satellites are intended to increase NASA’s signal processing and transmission capabilities with the Hubble Space Telescope, the International Space Station and dozens of unmanned scientific satellites in low Earth orbit.

Company officials said Boeing’s TDRS K satellite, the first to offer the increase in operational effectiveness, were  delivered in late December to Kennedy Space Center.

Originally set to liftoff on Tuesday, Jan. 29, NASA adjusted the time of the first TDRS-K launch to 8:48 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 30 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

The one-day delay allows technicians additional time to replace an Ordnance Remote Control Assembly (ORCA) that showed a poor signal prior to planned ordnance connections.

Other than that glitch, the satellite has successfully completed all other environmental, functional and performance tests, including vibration and acoustic tests and final flight functional testing.

A series of other new TDRS K satellites have been shipped to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station where they will complete final integration and testing and then prepared for launch.

“The TDRS satellites provide NASA with crucial crosslink communications between orbiting spacecraft and control and data processing facilities on Earth,” said Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space & Intelligence Systems. “TDRS K is a major step toward improving how high-resolution images, video, voice and data are transmitted.”

TDRS K is one of three TDRS satellites in production.

The TDRS L satellite, which is scheduled to launch in 2014, is in final space vehicle testing at the Boeing Satellite Development Center in California. Production of TDRS-M is expected to begin this month.

Boeing and General Dynamics also upgraded existing ground terminals to be compatible with the TDRS K series. The team recently completed the final course of ground segment testing and delivered the ground segment to NASA.

Boeing built the TDRS H, I and J satellites that are currently in operation.