NASA sets new date for satellite launch

NASA has announced a new date for its upcoming launch, one that had been planned for Aug. 3 until an antenna on the satellite heading into space was damaged.

A 40-minute window for the launch of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite is now planned to open at 7:56 a.m. on Aug. 20.

The TDRS-M satellite will eventually hitch a ride on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

In an email sent out Wednesday evening, officials hinted at other issues besides the antenna.

“An unrelated electrostatic discharge incident with ground support equipment is still under investigation; however, the mission team understands the cause and has addressed it so Boeing can begin the antenna replacement,” a spokeswoman emailed.

In a posting online, NASA officials said the new date will give Boeing time to replace the antenna.

The new posting supported previous blogs that indicated the damage happened during closeout activities at Astrotech Space Operations in Titusville.

The delay appears to have shuffled the order of planned launches on the Space Coast.

An industry launch-tracking website now has a SpaceX mission to send cargo to the International Space Station as the next launch, set to head into space no earlier than Aug. 14.

SpaceX and NASA have not confirmed that date. That launch had been expected to follow ULA’s satellite launch.

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