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NASA Television to Air Launch of Next Communications Satellite

Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-M
Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-M is the latest spacecraft destined for the agency’s constellation of communications satellites that allows nearly continuous contact with orbiting spacecraft ranging from the International Space Station and Hubble Space Telescope to the array of scientific observatories. Credits: NASA/Kim Shiflett

NASA is targeting 8:03 a.m. EDT Friday, Aug. 18, for the launch of its next Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) mission atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The launch, and related activities that begin Thursday, Aug. 17, will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

TDRS-M, built by Boeing, will provide NASA’s Space Network the ability to support critical space communication into the mid-2020s, ensuring scientists, engineers and control room staff can readily access data for missions like the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station.

A prelaunch news conference will air live on NASA TV at 9 a.m. on Thursday. Participating in this event are:

  • Tim Dunn, launch director at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida
  • Badri Younes, deputy associate administrator for Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) at NASA Headquarters in Washington
  • Dave Littmann, project manager for TDRS-M at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland
  • James Wilson III, Boeing program manager for NASA/Civil Space Programs
  • Scott Messer, ULA program manager for NASA missions
  • Clay Flinn, launch weather officer with the 45th Space Wing at Cape Canaveral

NASA TV also will air a prelaunch Social Live briefing at 2 p.m. on Thursday featuring some of the speakers listed above, as well as NASA astronauts Steve Bowen and Nicole Mann, among other guests. Participants can submit questions for the social briefing online using #askNASA.

Launch coverage will begin at 7:30 a.m. on Friday with commentary leading up to the 8:03 a.m. start of a 40-minute launch window.

The deadline for media to apply for accreditation for this launch has passed, but more information about media accreditation is available by contacting Jennifer Horner at 321-867-6598 or

For an updated list of prelaunch briefings, events and NASA TV coverage, visit:

To learn more about the TDRS-M mission, visit:


Cheryl Warner
Headquarters, Washington
Tori McLendon
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
Dewayne Washington
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.