Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) is pleased to announce the successful launch of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite K (TDRS-K) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida at 8:48 pm on January 30 onboard an Atlas V rocket. TDRS-K is the first of the third generation TDRS that will provide a vital boost to extend the lifespan of the TDRS fleet. TDRS-L will be ready for launch in 2014 and TDRS-M will be available for launch in 2016. The third generation TDRS design will return to S-band beamforming capabilities to the ground, like its first generation counterparts. Ground beamforming allows more flexibility to send signal to multiple users. The solar arrays on the third generation have also been upgraded to be more efficient.
The TDRS fleet has transmitted the stunning images of the universe from the Hubble Space Telescope, pictures, television, voice, and data from the International Space Station, as well as images of the changes on the Earth's surface from the numerous Earth observing missions. The TDRS fleet and associated ground stations in White Sands, New Mexico and Guam Island make up the Space Network. The Space Network allows virtually 100% communications between the satellites and ground stations.
› Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS)
› TDRS Mission
› NASA Social (January 29) (YouTube Video)
› Prelaunch Briefing - Part 1 (January 28) (YouTube Video)
› Prelaunch Briefing - Part 2 (January 28) (YouTube Video)
› Prelaunch Briefing - Part 3 (January 28) (YouTube Video)
› Kennedy Space Center Media Gallery (search TDRS-K)