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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The first of NASA’s three next-generation

Tracking and Data Relay Satellites (TDRS), known as TDRS-K, launched

at 8:48 p.m. EST Wednesday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in


“TDRS-K bolsters our network of satellites that provides essential

communications to support space exploration,” said Badri Younes,

deputy associate administrator for Space Communications and

Navigation at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “It will improve the

overall health and longevity of our system.”

The TDRS system provides tracking, telemetry, command and

high-bandwidth data return services for numerous science and human

exploration missions orbiting Earth. These include the International

Space Station and NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.

“With this launch, NASA has begun the replenishment of our aging space

network,” said Jeffrey Gramling, TDRS project manager. “This addition

to our current fleet of seven will provide even greater capabilities

to a network that has become key to enabling many of NASA’s

scientific discoveries.”

For more information about TDRS, click here.

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