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.
Fool contributor Rich Smith has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Lockheed Martin. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.