Live Coverage Ends with TDRS-L in Orbit

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The TDRS-L satellite is safely in orbit and will soon add its capabilities to the TDRS System, ensuring dependable space-to-ground communication support for Earth-orbiting spacecraft today and in the future. The satellite launched from Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 9:33 p.m. EST.

“We’ve confirmed we’ve got a healthy spacecraft,” Dunn said. “The launch team is thrilled, and as you can imagine, the spacecraft team is even more thrilled.”

This brings our live coverage to a close. To keep up with TDRS-L’s status and other TDRS System news, visit

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Liftoff of the Atlas V carrying TDRS-L

TDRS-L Released!

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One hour and 46 minutes into the flight, TDRS-L is free of the Centaur and flying in an orbit ranging from 2,613 to 19,324 nautical miles. The Atlas V rocket and Centaur upper stage performed their jobs well during tonight’s ascent, putting the newest addition to the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System on the right path to join its counterparts.

What’s Next for TDRS-L

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The second – and final – burn of the Centaur engine will position TDRS-L to be deployed in a transfer orbit. Shortly after separation from the Centaur, the satellite’s two single-access antennas will release just enough to allow them to take their rounded shape.

TDRS-L will spend the next 11 days maneuvering to its final destination in Earth orbit. Then it’s time for the satellite to start the deployment process. The first solar array will unfold, followed by the two single-access antennas and the second solar array. Deployment of the Space-to-Ground Link and Omni antenna complete the sequence, and at that point the satellite can begin three months of testing and calibration before it’s considered ready for service.

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