NASA’s third generation communications satellite enters safely in orbit

Washington, Jan 24: NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite L (TDRS-L), which is the 12th spacecraft in the agency’s TDRS Project, is safely in orbit after its launch on Thursday aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Ground controllers report the satellite-part of a network providing high-data-rate communications to the International Space Station, Hubble Space Telescope, launch vehicles and a host of other spacecraft-is in good health at the start of a three-month checkout by its manufacturer, Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems of El Segundo, California.

NASA will conduct additional tests before putting TDRS-L into service.

“TDRS-L and the entire TDRS fleet provide a vital service to America’s space program by supporting missions that range from Earth-observation to deep space discoveries,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said.

“TDRS also will support the first test of NASA’s new deep space spacecraft, the Orion crew module, in September. This test will see Orion travel farther into space than any human spacecraft has gone in more than 40 years,” he added.

The mission of the TDRS Project, established in 1973, is to provide follow-on and replacement spacecraft to support NASA’s space communications network.

This network provides high data-rate communications. The TDRS-L spacecraft is identical to the TDRS-K spacecraft launched in 2013. (ANI)