Thursday, January 24, 2013

NASA’s satellite launch postponed due to an Atlas V rocket defect

The launch of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-K) of NASA has been suspended because the technicians need to replace a faulty rocket component. The launch, initially scheduled on the 29th of January at Cape Canaveral, is now set next Wednesday, January 30th at 8:48 PM.

NASA said that during tests, the Ordnance Remote Control of the Atlas V produced faulty signals before connections were made to the explosive devices used to detach the booster from the rocket’s upper stage, Centaur. Now, ULA is shipping a replacement from its manufacturing facility in Decatur, Alabama, and once the new rocket part is installed, new tests will be conducted in the rocket’s vertical processing tower.

The TDRS-K satellite constellation of NASA will promote continuous communication between the ground and spacecraft in low Earth orbit, which includes the Hubble Space Telescope and International Space Station. The new satellite is the first of three in an upgraded fleet built by The Boeing Co. NASA said that the first two missions will cost $715 million, including modifications to ground networks.

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