Launch Day for TDRS-K Aboard Atlas V
Image above: The Atlas V rocket with the TDRS-K spacecraft aboard at the launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Photo credit: NASA
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The Tracking and Data Relay Satellite project, known as TDRS, provides follow-on and replacement spacecraft necessary to maintain and expand the NASA Space Network. TDRS-K, as the newest satellite is called, is scheduled for launch Jan. 30. TDRS-K is the first of three next-generation satellites designed to ensure vital operational continuity for NASA by expanding the lifespan of the fleet. Each of the new satellites has a higher performance solar panel design to provide more spacecraft power. This upgrade will return signal processing for the S-Band multiple access service to the ground -- the same as the first-generation TDRS spacecraft. Ground-based processing allows TDRS to service more customers with different and evolving communication requirements.