Atlas 5 launches TDRS-K
1/30/13 ~ 8:48pm

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A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket zooms into space with NASA's Tracking & Data Relay Satellite, TDRS-K, on the evening of January 30. TDRS-K is the first of NASA's main communications satellites launched in a decade, and continues replenishing a fleet started for the space shuttle program in 1983 with STS-6. The TDRS satellite system relays data from major orbiting spacecraft including the International Space Station (and the shuttle, previously) as well as science missions like the Hubble Space Telescope and classified payloads from the National Reconnaisance Office.

TDRS-K spacecraft in cleanroom       Astronomy Picture of the Day!

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