NASA Launches TDRS-K Comms Satellite

On Wednesday, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced the successful launch of the first of three new "next generation Tracking and Data Relay Satellites" about an Atlas V rocket operated by the United Launch Alliance between Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) and Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT  ) .

Designated TDRS-K, the Boeing-built satellite is designed to provide "essential communications to support space exploration," including "tracking, telemetry, command and high-bandwidth data return services for numerous science and human exploration missions orbiting Earth."

Two further launches are planned in this series: TDRS-L, which is scheduled to launch in 2014, followed by TDRS-M, which will be built by 2015 and launched subsequently.  

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