An Atlas V rocket carrying NASA's new advanced communications satellite, TDRS-K, successfully lifted off on Jan. 30, 2013 from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
From its geosynchronous orbit, TDRS-K will have a wide enough view of our planet to pick up and relay signals from NASA's fleet of Earth-orbiting spacecraft, including the International Space Station and the Hubble Space Telescope. TDRS-K is the first of a new generation of comm satellites meant to meet the increased demands of NASA's growing fleet of research satellites. TDRS-K will be the 11th satellite in the TDRS series launched by NASA since it began building the space-borne network in 1983. Two additional TDRS spacecraft will follow in 2014 and 2015.