45th Space Wing Public Affairs
1/24/2014 - CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla -- The
U.S. Air Force's 45th Space Wing provided flawless Eastern Range
support for NASA's successful launch of the Tracking and Data Relay
Satellite-L mission aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from
Launch Complex 41 here at 9:33 p.m. Jan. 23.
The rocket flew in the 401 vehicle configuration with a four-meter
fairing, no solid rocket boosters and a single-engine Centaur upper
Airmen, Air Force civilians and contractors from throughout the 45th
Space Wing provided vital support, including weather forecasts, launch
and range operations, security, safety, medical and public affairs. The
wing also provided its vast network of radar, telemetry, and
communications instrumentation to facilitate a safe launch on the
The Atlas 5 rocket will carry the spacecraft on a two-hour flight to
geosynchronous transfer orbit, the normal drop-off point for
communications satellites. From there, TDRS-L will maneuver itself into a
circular orbit and undergo months of testing before being declared
"What an outstanding performance by an outstanding team," said Brig.
Gen. Nina Armagno, commander, 45th Space Wing, who also served as the
Launch Decision Authority for the 45th Space Wing's second launch of
On Jan. 6, the 45th Space Wing Sharks supported a SpaceX launch of the
Thaicom 6 communications satellite from Space Launch Complex 40 here.
The TDRS-L spacecraft is the second of three new satellites designed to
ensure vital operational continuity for NASA by expanding the lifespan
of the fleet, which consists of eight satellites in geosynchronous
orbit. The spacecraft provide tracking, telemetry, command and high
bandwidth data return services for numerous science and human
exploration missions orbiting Earth.
These include NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space
Station. TDRS-L has a high-performance solar panel designed for more
spacecraft power to meet the growing S-band communications requirements.