Wireless Data Service in Space: Rocket Blasts Off With NASA Communications Satellite

Written by | January 25, 2014 | 0

An unmanned rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Thursday to put the newest member of NASA’s space communications network into orbit.

  • The 19-story tall Atlas 5 rocket, built and launched by United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co, lifted off at 9:33 p.m. EST (0233 GMT Friday).

With the 3.4-metric-ton Boeing-built Tracking and Data Relay Satellite perched on its nose, the rocket blazed through clear, star-filled skies as it headed southeast over the Atlantic Ocean toward orbit.

The satellite, called TDRS, is the 12th built for a NASA constellation that circles more than 22,300 miles above Earth. The satellites are strategically positioned over the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans where they can continuously track and communicate with the space station and dozens of other fast-moving spacecraft some 22,000 miles below.

“This capability is analogous to standing at the top of the Empire State Building and tracking an ant as it marches its way down the sidewalk in front of the building,” Boeing program director Andy Kopito told reporters during a prelaunch press conference at the Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday.

Filed in: International

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