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Atlas 2A launches TDRS-J
Posted: Thu, Dec 5, 2002, 9:21 AM ET (1421 GMT)
Atlas 2A launch of TDRS-J (NASA/KSC) The final Atlas 2A rocket successfully launched the last in the current series of NASA communications satellites Wednesday night. The Lockheed Martin Atlas 2A lifted off on schedule at 9:42 pm EST Wednesday (0242 GMT Thursday) from pad 36A at Cape Canaveral, Florida. It released the Boeing-built Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-J (TDRS-J) spacecraft into a geosynchronous transfer orbit about 30 minutes later. The spacecraft is the last of three next-generation satellites that NASA will use to communicate with space shuttles, ISS, the Hubble Space Telescope, and other Earth-orbiting spacecraft. The new TDRS spacecraft are expected to operate through at least 2012. The launch was the last for the Atlas 2A booster, introduced in June 1992; all 23 of its flights were successful. The Atlas 2AS, the version of the Atlas 2A with four strap-on boosters, has five more missions left before it is retired in favor of the Atlas 3 and 5, according to Spaceflight Now.
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