tdrs k logoThe Tracking Data Relay Satellite, K launched last evening from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

I’m going to do a very basic explanation of this. I will do a more detailed version when I understand it better. All the pictures are from United Launch Alliance and NASA.

The Launch time was 8:48:06 p.m.
This is a picture of the Atlas V 401 first stage with the Centaur second stage and the satellite on top in its capsule that is called a payload fairing. I’ll use payload fairing from now on.

BB5pVWfCIAEvF27 tdrs launchpad 1 30 13This is a view of the Atlas V 401 as they were getting it into position in the frame which is done before they roll it out to the launchpad.
They put the parts together and then they put the assembled first stage, second stage and payload fairing on the launchpad.719402main_2013-1-3-1-1600_800-600 lift 1st satgeAt the end of the rocket is the booster. This is what powers the rocket through the first stage of the launch.

This is the Centaur second stage. This powers the satellite, at first when she’s inside of her payload fairing and then after the fairing falls away.719523main_2013-1-5-2-1600_800-600 Centaur stageThis is the payload fairing as it is being transported to the frame.

721983main_tdrsk_iotd_cropped_800-600 lauch pre nightHere are two pictures of TDRS -K. The first is during a fitness test when she is in a vertical position. The second picture is of her in a horizontal position.

TDRS Ktdrs kThe satellite is also called a spacecraft.

This is a picture of the crew closing the spacecraft inside of the payload fairing.

enclosedThese are three pictures of the launch. The first is liftoff. The second is up in the air, the gray tail the smoke under Atlas V 401. The third is of Atlas V 401 heading up.

BB5xcoNCEAAdYT9 lift off tdrsk WCBB52J_PCUAE7TQq launch tdsr kBB6EVJYCUAQvZZp Streak Atlas V 401TDRS -K will stay in a transfer orbit for 10 days to reach her proper orbit.
They will do tests for 3 months before she goes into operation.

This last picture is an artist’s drawing of what TDRS – K looks like in space.