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NASA will hold a press conference Thursday at 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT) to preview the planned Friday, Aug. 18, launch of the new Tracking and Data Relay Satellite TDRS-M. Liftoff is set for Friday at 8:03 a.m. EDT (1203 GMT). NASA's launch webcast will begin at 7:30 a.m. EDT (1130 GMT). 

Built by Boeing, the TDRS-M satellite will join NASA's communications satellite constellation and is designed to provide communications for the space agency through the mid-2020s. The satellite is part of a network that ensures that "scientists, engineers and control room staff can readily access data for missions like the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station," NASA officials said in a statement. 

Participating in the NASA briefing are:

  • Tim Dunn, launch director at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida
  • Badri Younes, deputy associate administrator for Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) at NASA Headquarters in Washington
  • Dave Littmann, project manager for TDRS-M at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland
  • James Wilson III, Boeing program manager for NASA/Civil Space Programs
  • Scott Messer, ULA program manager for NASA missions
  • Clay Flinn, launch weather officer with the 45th Space Wing at Cape Canaveral

Live @ 10 am ET on Thursday: Russian Cosmonauts Take a Spacewalk

Russian cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin, who commands the Expeditionn 52 mission, and Sergey Ryazanski, a flight engineer, will take a six-hour spacewalk on Thursday to toss a series of tiny satellites overboard, perform station maintenance and collect research samples. NASA's live coverage of the spacewalk will begin at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT)

More on the spacewalk from NASA: 

"Two Russian cosmonauts will venture outside the International Space Station Thursday, Aug. 17, to deploy several nanosatellites, collect research samples and perform structural maintenance.

'Coverage of the spacewalk will begin at 10 a.m. EDT on NASA Television and the agency’s website. Expedition 52 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy, of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, will don their spacesuits and exit the station's Pirs airlock at approximately 10:45 a.m.

"Ryazanskiy will begin the schedule of extravehicular activities with the manual deployment of five nanosatellites from a ladder outside the airlock.

"The satellites, each of which has a mass of about 11 pounds, have a variety of purposes. One of the satellites, with casings made using 3-D printing technology, will test the effect of the low-Earth-orbit environment on the composition of 3-D printed materials. Another satellite contains recorded greetings to the people of Earth in 11 languages. A third satellite commemorates the 60th anniversary of the Sputnik 1 launch and the 160th anniversary of the birth of Russian scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky.

"The spacewalkers also will collect residue samples from various locations outside the Russian segment of the station and install handrails and struts to facilitate future excursions. Yurchikhin will be designated extravehicular crew member 1 (EV1) for this spacewalk, the ninth of his career. Ryazanskiy, embarking on his fourth spacewalk, will be extravehicular crew member 2 (EV2). Both will wear Russian Orlan spacesuits bearing blue stripes. The spacewalk will be the 202nd in support of space station assembly and maintenance and the seventh spacewalk this year."

Thursday @ 2 pm ET: NASA Social on TDRS-M Launch

NASA TV will air a Social Live briefing at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT) to discuss the upcoming launch of the TDRS-M communications satellite. NASA astronauts Steve Bowen and Nicole Mann, will speak during the briefing, and participants can submit questions for the social briefing online using #askNASA.

Other speakers will include members from NASA's morning press conference on TDRS-M, which included: 

  • Tim Dunn, launch director at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida
  • Badri Younes, deputy associate administrator for Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) at NASA Headquarters in Washington
  • Dave Littmann, project manager for TDRS-M at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland
  • James Wilson III, Boeing program manager for NASA/Civil Space Programs
  • Scott Messer, ULA program manager for NASA missions
  • Clay Flinn, launch weather officer with the 45th Space Wing at Cape Canaveral

Friday @ 7:30 a.m. EDT: Watch NASA's TDRS-M Communications Satellite Launch

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket will launch NASA's newest communications satellite TDRS-M into orbit from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Liftoff is set for 8:03 a.m. EDT (1203 GMT). NASA's live video webcast will begin at 7:30 a.m. EDT (1130 GMT).

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