Jan. 31 - An unmanned Atlas 5 rocket blasts off to put the first of a new generation of NASA communications satellites into orbit. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
(ROUGH CUT ONLY - NO REPORTER NARRATION) An unmanned Atlas 5 rocket blasted off on Wednesday (January 30) to put the first of a new generation of NASA communications satellites into orbit, where it will support the International Space Station, the Hubble Space Telescope and other spacecraft. The 191-foot (58-metre) rocket lifted off at 8:48 p.m. (0148 GMT Thursday), the first of 13 planned launches in 2013 from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station just south of NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Once in position 22,300 miles (35,900 km) above the planet, the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, known as TDRS and built by Boeing Co, will join a seven-member network that tracks rocket launches and relays communications to and from the space station, the Hubble observatory and other spacecraft circling Earth.