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Watch NASA TDRS-M Satellite Launched by ULA Atlas V Rocket

NASA TDRS-M Satellite Launched by ULA Atlas V Rocket

NASA launches new communications satellite to beam back data from Hubble Telescope, International Space Station and other orbiting spacecraft to help astronauts talk to earth.

The $408 million TDRS-M satellite lifted off atop a United launch Alliance Atlas V rocket today (Aug. 18) at 8:29 a.m. EDT (1229 GMT) from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air force Station after a 1/2-hour delay due to a technical problem with the booster that was rapidly resolved.

TDRS-M is headed for geosynchronous orbit, approximately 22,300 miles (35,800 kilometers) above Earth. It's going to join 9 other operational spacecraft in NASA's tracking and data Relay satellite (TDRS) constellation, which collectively permit the almost continuous transmission of information from Hubble, the ISS and other near-Earth research and exploration craft to mission controllers on the ground.

"TDRS-M is going to be important to our future operation and the future of the space network," Badri Younes, NASA's deputy associate administrator for space communications and navigation, stated during a prelaunch news conference yesterday (Aug. 17).