An Atlas V rocket launches Tracking & Data Relay Satellite-K (TDRS-K) from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 8:48 p.m. on 30 January 2013. This ultra-wide angle view is a time exposure of over 3 1/2 minutes taken from the beach at Patrick Air Force Base. Note the Big Dipper standing on its handle just above the horizon in the center of the image.

From the NASA press kit for the launch:

The TDRS system (TDRSS), also known as NASA’s Space Network, consists of the on-orbit TDRS telecommunications spacecraft stationed at geosynchronous positions and the associated TDRS ground terminals located at White Sands, New Mexico and Guam. The Space Network is capable of providing near-continuous high bandwidth (S-, Ku-, and Ka-band) telecommunications services for low-Earth orbiting user spacecraft and expendable launch vehicles, including the Hubble Space Telescope, the International Space Station and NASA’s Earth Observing Fleet. As such, TDRS is a critical agency resource.

This next-generation space communications satellite is part of a follow-on spacecraft fleet being developed and deployed to replenish NASA’s Space Network.

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