Launch date set for NASA satellite from Cape

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - A NASA satellite was being hoisted atop an Atlas V rocket this morning in preparation for a Jan. 23 night launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Local 6 news partner Florida Today, the agency's next Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, called TDRS-L, was transported early today from a payload processing facility in Titusville and arrived at the rocket's Launch Complex 41 processing tower at 5:19 a.m.

The spacecraft weighing roughly 7,700-pounds when fully fueled was expected to be secured on the United Launch Alliance Atlas V around noon.

The satellite is the second of three next-generation vehicles replenishing the space-based NASA communications system that keeps the International Space Station in near continuous communication with the ground and returns data from science missions including the Hubble Space Telescope.

Launch is targeted for 9:05 p.m. Jan. 23, at the opening of a 40-minute window.

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