"The surface of the Earth is the shore of the cosmic ocean... Recently, we've managed to wade a little way out, and the water seems inviting." - Carl Sagan
Atlas V first stage
At Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41 in Florida, preparations are underway to erect the first stage of the Atlas V rocket that will carry the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, TDRS-K, into orbit.
TDRS-K is the first of three next-generation communications satellites designed to ensure vital operational continuity for NASA. The seven TDRS spacecraft currently in orbit 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-K has a high-performance solar panel designed for more spacecraft power to meet growing S-band communications requirements.
Image Credit: NASA/Ben Smegelsky