Atlas V First Stage
|Courtesy of NASA/Ben Smegelsky|
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.