NASA launches communication satellite

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Associated Press

Posted on January 30, 2013 at 9:02 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 30 at 9:05 PM

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (AP) — NASA has launched a new communication satellite.

An unmanned Atlas rocket blasted off Wednesday night from Cape Canaveral. NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite was on board.

This is the 11th TDRS (T-driss) satellite to be launched by NASA. The space agency uses the orbiting network to communicate with the astronauts living on the International Space Station. The satellites also relay all the images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.

The first TDRS spacecraft was launched in 1983. The second was lost aboard space shuttle Challenger in 1986.

This newest third-generation TDRS carries the letter K designation. Once it begins working full time, it will become TDRS-11.

It costs between $350 million and $400 million.

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