NASA is launching a new satellite for it’s communications network tonight Thursday, January 23, 2014. The launch is scheduled for 9:05pm EST from Cape Canaveral. NASA has allowed a 40 minute launch window, so, the launch could occur anywhere up to 9:45pm.
The 3.8 ton Atlas rocket was built by Boeing and is the 12th rocket of it’s type. Since the Shuttle program was retired, Cape Canaveral primarily is used for launching tracking and data relay satellites for the International Space Station, the Hubble Telescope and the US Earth observation satellites. This particular satellite will bolster voice and data links between mission control, the International Space Station and other orbiting research observatories.
Launches from the Cape are readily visible during daylight hours, so tonight's launch after 9:00pm should really be spectacular!