TDRS-L Launch Updates
TDRS-L Flying On Its Own
Thursday, January 23, 2014 - 11:18 p.m. EST
The Centaur upper stage completed its second engine burn this evening and separated from the TDRS-L spacecraft as planned, leaving the communications satellite in a geosynchronous transfer orbit of 2,613 miles by 19,324 miles. The TDRS satellite will use its own engines to steadily raise and circularize its orbit to about 22,300 miles, high enough that its orbit speed will match Earth's rotation. From that altitude, the TDRS will appear to hover over the same spot on Earth.
The TDRS-L Mission
Date: Jan. 23
Mission: Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-L (TDRS-L)
Launch Vehicle: Atlas V
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 41
Launch Time: 9:33 p.m. EST
NASA's TDRS Program
The Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System is NASA's network of specialized communications satellites that orbit 22,300 miles above the Earth. As the name suggests, the satellites relay signals between spacecraft including the International Space Station and ground control stations on Earth. The spacecraft are a vast improvement over the string of ground stations that were used in the past to communicate with spacecraft for short periods of time as they passed over or near the stations. With the TDRS spacecraft in place, spacecraft including Earth-observing missions and NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have near-constant communication links to Earth.
Learn more at http://tdrs.gsfc.nasa.gov