ULA Launch Upgrades NASA’s Communication Satellite Fleet
The TDRS-M spacecraft is one of seven satellites in NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation network, SCaN. The network handles all sorts of communication from spacecraft from vehicles close to earth all the way to deep space missions billions of miles away.
But it needs multiple communication satellites to work. Many of the satellites in the network are retired, or ready to be retired. “TDRS-M is going to be critical to the future operation, and the future of the space network,” said Badri Younes, deputy associate administrator for SCaN.
United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin, is handling the launch. Liftoff of this satellite was delayed after an accident damaged one of the spacecraft’s antennas during processing. Crews replaced the damaged piece last month.
Friday’s launch from Cape Canaveral is scheduled for 8:03 a.m. ET. The launch window remains open for 40 minutes.
It’s been a busy few weeks on the space Coast. Earlier this week, SpaceX launched supplies to the International Space Station and later this month, Orbital ATK plans to launch a Minator rocket carrying a space debris tracking satellite. Next month, SpaceX plans to launch the Air Force’s mini-shuttle – the X-37B.
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