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NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite L (TDRS-L), the 12th spacecraft in the agency's TDRS Project, is safely in orbit after launching at 9:33 p.m. EST Thursday aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The next element in the communications network that links NASA's ground controllers to orbiting spacecraft is ready for launch Jan. 23 following several weeks of preparations.
NASA has accepted ownership of its newest Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) from Boeing after successfully completing in orbit testing. TDRS-K, will be renamed TDRS-11 upon entry into service.
Thursday marked the 30th anniversary of the deployment of NASA’s first Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, TDRS-A, which was carried into space as part of space shuttle Challenger’s maiden voyage on April 4, 1983.
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