United Launch Alliance has sent a NASA communications satellite into orbit on an Atlas V rocket.
Liftoff of ULA’s Atlas V came at 8:29 a.m. EDT Aug. 18 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The launch was delayed about a half-hour due to a thermal issue with the rocket’s Centaur second stage.
The Boeing-built satellite reached its initial target orbit about 15 minutes after liftoff.
“(TDRS-M) will provide NASA’s Space Network the ability to support critical space communication into the mid-2020s, ensuring scientists, engineers and control room staff can readily access data for missions like the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station,” the space agency said just ahead of the launch.
The Space Network consists of TDRS satellites that transmit data to and from ground stations on Earth for NASA missions and launch vehicles.
Satellite launches comprise a major portion of ULA’s mission manifest and the space industry generally.