NASA TV to Air Launch of ULA Atlas V

Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-M is the latest spacecraft destined for the agency’s constellation of communications satellites that allows nearly continuous contact with orbiting spacecraft ranging from the International Space Station and Hubble Space Telescope to the array of scientific observatories. (Credits: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA is targeting 8:03 a.m. EDT Friday, Aug. 18, for the launch of its next Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) mission atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The launch, and related activities that begin Thursday, Aug. 17, will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
TDRS-M, built by Boeing, will provide NASA’s Space Network the ability to support critical space communication into the mid-2020s, ensuring scientists, engineers and control room staff can readily access data for missions like the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station.

A prelaunch news conference will air live on NASA TV at 9 a.m. on Thursday. Participating in this event are:

  • Tim Dunn, launch director at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida
  • Badri Younes, deputy associate administrator for Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) at NASA Headquarters in Washington
  • Dave Littmann, project manager for TDRS-M at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland
  • James Wilson III, Boeing program manager for NASA/Civil Space Programs
  • Scott Messer, ULA program manager for NASA missions
  • Clay Flinn, launch weather officer with the 45th Space Wing at Cape Canaveral

NASA TV also will air a prelaunch Social Live briefing at 2 p.m. on Thursday featuring some of the speakers listed above, as well as NASA astronauts Steve Bowen and Nicole Mann, among other guests. Participants can submit questions for the social briefing online using #askNASA.

Launch coverage will begin at 7:30 a.m. on Friday with commentary leading up to the 8:03 a.m. start of a 40-minute launch window.

For an updated list of prelaunch briefings, events and NASA TV coverage, visit:…

To learn more about the TDRS-M mission, visit:


  • I had to read this headline several times before it didn’t parse as “NASA to Air-Launch ULA Atlas V”.

    Now that would have been news!

  • Arthur Hamilton

    I am looking forward to seeing the Atlas land.

  • duheagle

    I see what you did there.

  • Terry Stetler

    Yeah, there was about half a second of WTF?!? here too 😁

  • windbourne

    I keep wondering if SX’s new sat system or 1-world will be smart and offer comm links downward AND UPWARDs? as in put a dish on top of the sat so as to pick up signals from LEO, GEO, and Deep space.

  • duheagle

    I think you mean OneWeb, not 1-world.

    Neither suggestion, though, is “smart.”

    Putting a dish on a smallsat big enough to get any appreciable radio frequency data rate from deep space is pretty much a non-starter because of physics. So forget that.

    Also hard to see what would be gained by picking up signals from GEO. Retransmit them downward? That would simply introduce a delay for no purpose into signals already most of the way to the ground anyway.

    The LEO constellation comsats will already have the ability to pass data “sideways” to their fellows in LEO. That’s pretty much the point of the exercise.

  • If it’s internet, then there has to be an uplink. It doesn’t have to be the same bandwidth, though.