NASA launches satellite to help astronauts talk to Earth

NASA launches satellite to help astronauts talk to Earth”

The Atlas V rocket has successfully launched from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral.

A 40-minute launch window opened at 8:03 a.m., but the rocket didn't launch until 8:29 a.m.

The sixth and final Boeing [NYSE: BA] Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS), launched today, will enhance NASA's space communications network when the satellite becomes fully operational early next year. The launch occurred at just before 8:30 AM ET, after a brief delay form its original planned launch due to a minor technical issue with the booster that was promptly corrected by the launch team.

U.S. Air Force's 75 Weather Squadron, which is based in Cape Canaveral and mines specific weather data for launch times, gives an 80-percent chance of favorable weather conditions at launch time.

The Atlas and Delta rockets have launched more than 1,300 missions, according to United Launch Alliance. These have included scientific missions, exploration and national security missions.

One of United Launch Alliance's competitors, SpaceX, launched a rocket carrying cargo for the International Space Station on Monday.

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