NASA considers delay of next-gen satellite launch after ‘incident’

NASA and Boeing officials are looking into whether an incident that involved an antenna on a next-generation satellite planned to launch Aug. 3 will change the mission’s timeline.

The episode occurred Friday and was announced on the agency’s website on Saturday.

The Tracking Data Relay Satellite, known as TDRS-M, was scheduled to head into space on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on the Space Coast.

The incident happened during “final spacecraft closeout activities,” according to the release.

United Launch Alliance and NASA officials did not immediately return emails requesting comment.

A 40-minute window for the launch of the TDRS-M satellite aboard ULA’s Atlas V rocket was set to open at 9:02 a.m. Aug. 3. In the statement, officials gave no indication about whether the incident would delay that launch.

“The mission team is developing a plan to assess flight acceptance and the schedule forward,” the statement read.

Here is the full statement NASA released Saturday:

“NASA and Boeing are reviewing an incident that occurred during final spacecraft closeout activities on the Tracking Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-M) mission at Astrotech Space Operations in Titusville, Florida, on July 14, involving the Omni S-band antenna. The mission team is developing a plan to assess flight acceptance and the schedule forward. These additional activities are under evaluation for a planned TDRS-M launch Aug. 3, 2017, on an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.”

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