|Image courtesy of NASA|
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Florida – The roll out of an Atlas V carrying a Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-L) will proceed as planned at 10:00 am EST Wednesday, according to Tim Dunn, NASA launch director at Kennedy Space Center.
The launch time for the rocket and payload is 9:05 pm EST on Thursday at the opening of a 40 minute window from Space Launch Complex 41. Dunn said the rocket and the launch team are prepared and ready.
According to NASA, “The TDRS-L spacecraft is the second of three next generation satellites designed to ensure vital operational continuity for NASA by expanding the lifespan of the fleet, which now consists of eight satellites in geostationary orbit.“The spacecraft provide tracking, telemetry, command, and high bandwidth data return services for numerous science and human exploration missions orbiting Earth. These include NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station. TDRS-L has a high-performance solar panel designed for more spacecraft power to meet the growing S-band communications requirements.”
The TDRS system “provides connectivity to anything that flies in our solar system and beyond,” said Badri Younes, NASA deputy associate administrator for Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN).The satellite is a Boeing 601, which is one of the best-selling spacecraft modules in the world. Andy Kopito, Civil Space Programs director, Boeing Space & Intelligence Systems said, “Its communications mission is kind of like trying to track an ant from the top of the Empire State Building.”
According to the 45th Weather Squadron, launch day probability of a positive weather outlook is about 80%.
|Left to Right: George Diller, NASA Spokesman; Badri Younes, Tim Dunn|