United Launch Alliance Atlas V with TDRS-M satellite under payload fairing was rolled out today at Cape Canaveral.
Finally after problems with broken antenna, which appeared in the half of July TDRS-M was successfully encapsulated under the payload fairing of the Atlas V rocket (401 configuration); rocket was rolled out to the launch site. With almost three weeks of delay (originally TDRS-M should be delivered to orbit on August 3, 2017), specialists and engineers from ULA and Boeing finished all necessary actions and placed Atlas V with satellite on special platform to perform roll out from assembly facility.
Today at 13:08 UTC rocket standing on special platform passed first meters of its way to SLC-41 launch pad at Cape Canaveral. During its last journey on Earth rocket reached launch pad after passing 5.5 km in one hour. It was secured at the launch pad and after connecting all control cables and lines, fueling of the first stage begun. This marked beginning phase of last pre launch preparations, which will finish on Friday, August 18th when rocket will ignite its engines and start at 12:03 UTC.
ULA decided to use their proven Atlas V rocket and launch weighing over 3450 kg Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-M satellite from SLC-41 at Cape Canaveral. Company planned to use Atlas V in 401 configuration with no boosters, 4 m wide payload fairing and single RL-10 engine installed at Centaur upper stage.
TDRS-M is third generation data relay satellites, which have been launched by NASA since 1983. It is thirteenth TDRS satellite launched by NASA and third designed and manufactured only by Boeing (previous were result of cooperation between Hughes and Boeing and first seven were designed and manufactured by TRW).