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Atlas launches NASA communications satellite
Posted: Thu, Jan 31, 2013, 7:31 AM ET (1231 GMT)
Atlas 5 launch of TDRS-K (ULA) An Atlas 5 rocket successfully placed into orbit Wednesday night the first in a new generation of communications satellites for NASA. The Atlas 5 401 lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on schedule at 8:48 pm EST Wednesday (0148 GMT Thursday). The rocket's Centaur upper stage released the NASA TDRS-K satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit an hour and 46 minutes after liftoff. The satellite, based on the Boeing 601HP model, will relay communications in the Ka-, Ku-, and S-bands to support NASA operations of the International Space Station and other spacecraft. The 3,450-kilogram spacecraft will operate from over the Pacific Ocean once it enters service. TDRS-K is the first of three next-generation communications satellites that will be launched over the next few years to supplement and replace the existing, aging network of NASA communications satellites.
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