Atlas rocket launched from Cape

CAPE CANAVERAL - NASA's super-high-flying fleet of communication satellites is about to grow.

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket lifted off Thursday night from Cape Canaveral with the latest, third-generation Tracking and Data Relay Satellite.

The launch, originally set for 9:05 p.m. was delayed until 9:33 due to a technical issue.

NASA uses the TDRS satellites to support the International Space Station and Hubble Space Telescope, among other craft. The network is 22,300 miles high and allows continuous two-way contact with the space station and its six inhabitants.

This newest satellite is designated "L" in the TDRS series. NASA will rename it TDRS-12 once it's checked out in orbit, by late spring.

The satellite costs about $350 million.

NASA launched its first TDRS in 1983 aboard a space shuttle.

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