[Satellite TODAY 01-11-13] NASA’s Office of Space Communications and Navigation Program will launch its latest Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) Project spacecraft at the end of the month, sending the first of three next-generation satellites into orbit, the agency announced Jan. 11.
NASA’s newest TDRS-K space satellite arrived at the Kennedy Space Center in mid-December and will leave the launch pad on an Atlas 5 rocket Jan. 29. The satellite is equipped with 2 large solar arrays, two antennas and numerous other communications antennas and electronics, bringing the number of active relaying satellites in the group to eight. NASA aims to use TDRS as a communications platform between its spacecraft and related ground stations.
The next two satellites in the trio – TDRS-L and TDRS-M – will launch in late 2013 and 2015, respectively, to complete the constellation.