TDRS-L is safely on its way!

TDRS-L, the latest element of NASA’s geosynchronous relay satellite constellation, is safely en route to its post 22,000 miles up, after a spectacular night launch from Cape Canaveral.  Watch the very slow first part of its journey, from the assembly building to the launch pad:

And watch the much faster journey off the pad!

 

And the end of the launch vehicle’s job, spacecraft separation:

TDRS-L will spend the next couple of weeks raising its orbit with its main engine, after which it will gently deploy its solar arrays and the two giant radio dish antennas which are its raison d’etre — picking up signals from the ISS, from Hubble, and from other spacecraft in Earth orbit and passing them along, permitting seamless 24/7 coverage of any spacecraft without the need for hundreds of ground tracking stations.

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