CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla., Jan. 31, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket successfully launched NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-K) payload at 8:48 p.m. EST today from Space Launch Complex-41. This was the first of 13 ULA launches scheduled for 2013, the 35th Atlas V mission, and the 67th ULA launch.
"ULA and our mission partners are honored to work with the outstanding NASA team and we are proud of the vitally important data relay capabilities that were safely delivered today," said Jim Sponnick, ULA vice president, Mission Operations.
This mission was launched aboard an Atlas V 401 configuration vehicle, which includes a 4-meter diameter payload fairing. The Atlas booster for this mission was powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine and the Centaur upper stage was powered by a single Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne (PWR) RL10A-4 engine.
NASA established the TDRS project in 1973 to provide around-the-clock and around-the-Earth communications for the network that routes voice calls, telemetry streams and television signals from the International Space Station, as well as science information from the Hubble Space Telescope and other orbiting spacecraft.
"With this team's innovative and ever-present focus on delivering mission success and best value through Perfect Product Delivery, final work at the Cape to prepare the Atlas V rocket that launched today was completed in record time – 27 days from when the vehicle was first erected to launch," said Sponnick. "The ability for ULA to reduce its processing time both during manufacturing and at the launch sites, offers our customers added manifest flexibility as well as additional launch opportunities to ensure their payloads are delivered reliably and on-time."
ULA's next launch is the Atlas V LDCM mission for NASA scheduled Feb. 11, 2013, from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
ULA program management, engineering, test, and mission support functions are headquartered in Denver, Colo. Manufacturing, assembly and integration operations are located at Decatur, Ala., and Harlingen, Texas. Launch operations are located at Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., and Vandenberg AFB, Calif.
For more information on ULA, visit the ULA Web site at www.ulalaunch.com, or call the ULA Launch Hotline at 1-877-ULA-4321 (852-4321). Join the conversation at www.facebook.com/ulalaunch and twitter.com/ulalaunch.
SOURCE United Launch Alliance